Coursing not good for hares

 

Sir, – Michael Viney’s article “Can coursing be good for Irish hares? The strange answer is yes” (Weekend Review, January 12th)refers to a study carried out by Queen’s University Belfast (2010), which found that there were 18 times more hares where there were coursing clubs. It relied on hare numbers supplied by just one coursing club out of 76. The hare coursers counted the hares in their own “preserves”, and supplied the numbers.

If it’s the case that there are 18 times more hares in so-called coursing “preserves”, why, for example, did members of Doon coursing club, Co Tipperary, travel to Lough Boora Parklands, Co Offaly, to net hares in breach of the Wildlife Act, for which it was convicted in 2015? And what of Dundalk & Dowdallshill Coursing Club, which had to limit the number of courses it ran in 2017, due to a shortage of hares?

Irish hare numbers have been declining over the last century.

Coursing is not good for hares, not in terms of conservation, and certainly not in terms of their welfare.

How on earth can it be “good” for these timid, defenceless creatures to be cruelly snatched from the wild in nets, shoved into boxes, transported away from their habitat to an coursing compound to remain there for weeks on end, and then callously used as live bait for greyhounds?

As a republic that considers itself civilised and progressive, we are light years behind our neighbours in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, who have long since banned this barbarism. – Yours, etc,

AIDEEN YOURELL,

Irish Council

Against Blood Sports,

Mullingar, Co Westmeath.