Sir, – This week Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, in answer to a Dáil question from Maureen O’Sullivan TD, dismissed the introduction of mechanical lure coursing as a humane alternative to using timid wild hares as bait for the chasing greyhounds. The hare coursers have told him that it doesn’t work because the greyhounds, they claim, lose interest after following the lure “once or twice”.
On the say-so of the hare coursers, Mr Coveney will not countenance this humane alternative to hare coursing, which does in fact work, and says he has no plans to ban live hare coursing.
The coursers’ claim that greyhounds will not consistently follow a mechanical lure is totally absurd, as presently greyhounds pursue a mechanical lure, time after time, on the greyhound tracks. And in Australia, where live hare coursing has been banned for decades, mechanical lure coursing is now successfully used. And there have been drag coursing events held here in Ireland, one of which was in Listry, Co Killarney, in March 2013, where we filmed greyhounds enthusiastically following the drag. We sent this footage to the Minister, clear and unequivocal evidence that drag works successfully, but our evidence it seems fell not only on deaf ears, but closed eyes. So there is absolutely no excuse for the barbarity that is live hare coursing in this day and age. The Australians and others accepted the ban and moved on to mechanical lure coursing, and the sky didn’t fall in.
The ban on smoking in public places wasn’t countenanced at first and there was much resistance but today nobody yearns for smoke-filled pubs.
Replacing live hare coursing with a mechanical lure would find favour with the vast majority who respect and cherish our Irish hare and who would be more than happy to see the end of a despicable blood sport that brings shame on our country. – Yours, etc,
Against Blood Sports,
PO Box 88,
Mullingar, Co Westmeath.