Minister refuses to implement humane alternative to coursing
20th January, 2004
The Minister for Arts, Sports & Tourism, John O'Donoghue, has informed the Irish Council Against Blood Sports that his officials raised the issue of introducing drag coursing with the Irish Coursing Club but were told that "coursing greyhounds would not follow a drag" and that "drag coursing would be unpopular".
Minister O'Donoghue should take on board that the vast majority of Irish people (80% when last independently surveyed), want a total ban on the use of live hares for coursing. So drag coursing (where a mechanical lure is used instead of a live hare) may be "unpopular" amongst the tiny diehard minority who engage in this barbaric and outdated animal abuse, but it most certainly would be very popular with the Irish public.
We are quite amazed, furthermore, that Minister O'Donoghue, a greyhound racing enthusiast himself, would swallow the claim from the coursers that greyhounds would not follow a drag. ICABS has submitted video footage from a drag coursing club in the U.K. which shows the greyhounds enthusiastically following a drag, and indeed a mechanical lure is used on the tracks. In Australia and the USA, where the use of live hares is banned, drag coursing is very successful.
At coursing matches in Ireland, hares are still capable of being pinned down, injured and killed by muzzled dogs. Minister O'Donoghue and his department may attempt to salve their consciences by stating that hare kills have been reduced due to muzzling, but what they fail or seemingly don't want to take on board is the fact that hare coursing is an inherently and intrinsically cruel sport which involves the snatching of hares from the wild in nets and terrorising them on coursing fields for unnecessary and thoroughly gratuitous purposes - the "entertainment" of a tiny minority.
That such an activity is now under the same department that oversees art and culture is totally bizarre.
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is renewing its call on Minister John O'Donoghue to respect the wishes of Ireland's majority and replace live hare coursing with drag coursing. Please join us in this call.
Minister John O'Donoghue,
Update: John O'Donoghue dismisses drag coursing in Dail
To ask the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the purpose of and the outcome of the meeting in October 2003 between the Monitoring Committee and the Irish Coursing Club; if he plans any legislative or policy initiative in light of the need to introduce drag coursing here in view of the success of this alternative to live hare coursing in Australia, the USA and Britain; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Tony Gregory).
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 18th February, 2004.
Ref No: 5362/04
Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (John O'Donoghue, T.D.): The Deputy will be aware that under Section 26 of the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, the Irish Coursing Club is recognised as being the controlling authority for the breeding and coursing of greyhounds, subject to the provisions of the Act and of the constitution of the Club and subject to the general control and direction of Bord na gCon.
The Monitoring Committee, comprising officials of my own Department, veterinary and livestock-breeding experts from the Department of Agriculture, representatives from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Bord na gCon held its annual meeting with the Irish Coursing Club (ICC) on October 23, 2003.
The purpose of this meeting was to review the 2002/2003 coursing season and to discuss control procedures for the 2003/2004 season.
The question of introducing drag coursing was discussed at the meeting. The ICC informed the Committee that the muzzling of coursing greyhounds and the continued veterinary inspections by both the coursing clubs and the Department of Agriculture and Food have significantly reduced the incidence of injuries to hares. The Department of Agriculture veterinary inspectors agreed to attend approximately 10% of meetings for the 2003/2004 on behalf of my Department, while Wildlife Rangers from the National Parks and Wildlife Services will continue to attend approximately 50% of all coursing meetings and issue reports to my Department.
In light of these initiatives, I do not propose to introduce changes in legislation to introduce drag coursing in Ireland.
More Info: Hare Coursing and Drag Coursing
For More Info on hare coursing and the humane alternative, drag coursing, please visit our "Ban Hare Coursing" website at: www.banbloodsports.com/coursing
Video clips showing drag coursing in action are available to view in the Videos section.
Please sign our Ban Blood Sports in Ireland petition.