Giving the Easter bunny a chance
Sir, – As we celebrate Easter, I can’t but reflect on the act of deep treachery the Government intends to commit against one of the gentlest creatures in the Irish countryside. I refer to our iconic Irish hare.
The mythical Easter Bunny was actually a hare. In old Germanic tradition, the hare would leave eggs at Easter for children to find. As time went on, these became chocolate eggs. Then, after the tradition was imported to North America, the hare was replaced in popular mythology by a rabbit.
So it is the original symbol of Easter that our legislators will be targeting if they proceed with their plan to exempt hare coursing from prohibition under the new Animal Health and Welfare Bill. I have seen the draft Bill and this appalling practice is specifically excluded from an otherwise sweeping ban on animal cruelty.
If the Bill is enacted into law with this exemption intact, hares will continue to be captured by coursing clubs and subjected to the terror of live baiting sessions. They will, as before, be forced to run from pairs of hyped-up dogs, to be mauled, pinned to the ground, or tossed into the air like playthings.
A few days ago, Panama passed a comprehensive law updating animal protection that included a ban on hare coursing.
Here, powerful politicians back the savage ill-treatment of this harmless little animal for “sport”. They have allowed a country long castigated for its poor animal welfare standards to leap far ahead of Ireland in wildlife protection and the fight against animal cruelty.
Instead of exempting hare coursing under a Bill that aims to protect animals, the Government should follow the example of Panama and give the real Easter Bunny a chance! – Yours, etc,