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Photo: Captive hares in coursing enclosure
18 November 2005

A disturbing scene captured by ICABS during the current coursing season shows dozens of hares in an enclosure on the eve of a coursing weekend. The animals which should be living free in nature are pictured awaiting their fate as lures for greyhounds.

Hares in a coursing field
Dozens of hares in an enclosure during the current coursing season. The normally solitary creatures are seen here the day before the start of a coursing meeting.

It's a scene repeated at more than 70 coursing meetings around Ireland during the coursing season which runs from September until the middle of February. Thanks to a licence from the Environment Minister, thousands of hares are snatched from the wild every year by coursing clubs around Ireland. The timid creatures are chased into nets and, once trapped, are transferred into wooden boxes and brought to the coursing venue. They are kept in captivity for up to two months.

Hares taken from the wild for use in coursing are at risk of dying before, during and after coursing meetings. Some die while being netted from the wild and others succumb to disease and stress during the weeks in captivity. Injuries sustained during coursing account for even more deaths - being delicate creatures, any hit from a greyhound can result in fatal internal injuries and broken bones. The ones which survive the trauma of being handled, transported and coursed and are finally released back into the wild, continue to remain vulnerable to capture myopathy - a stress-related condition which can claim victims suddenly or days and months later.

Furthermore, coursers have been found to have released sick and injured hares back into the wild whose chances of survival are further reduced. They have also captured and coursed pregnant hares.

Action Item

Please contact Environment Minister, Dick Roche, and demand an end to coursing in Ireland. Tell the Minister that hares should be allowed to live free from the cruelty of coursing. Please also contact your local TD and urge him/her to work for an end to coursing and all blood sports.

Minister Dick Roche
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House
Dublin 1

Tel: +353 (0)1-8882403
Fax: +353 (0)1-8788640

Hares in a coursing field next to wire fence
A close-up showing just some of the hares kept captive in a coursing field. The following day, they were forced to run for their lives in front of muzzled greyhounds.

Coursing: More Information

Coursing fixtures list revealed - 13 October 2005

Coursers get licence for 2005-06 season - 14 September 2005

Is Ireland in breach of EU Habitats Directive? - 07 July 2005
Green Party leader, Trevor Sargent, has questioned the Environment Minister about the possibility of Ireland being in breach of the EU Habitats Directive by allowing hare coursing.

Hares and Rabbits Fact Sheet - 24 June 2005
Hares and rabbits have an important place in Ireland's biodiversity. Learn all about these fascinating mammals in a new fact sheet by Mike Rendle of the Irish Hare Initiative.

Animal Voice - June 2005
Special edition focusing entirely on the plight of the Irish Hare. Read on to find out about the growing concern for this "threatened" and "declining" species. Plus a selection of disturbing reports from hare coursing meetings.

The Impact of Enclosed Hare Coursing on Irish hares - 28 April 2005
A report by the Irish Hare Initiative

Species Action Plan - 31 March 2005
The draft version of the Species Action Plan for the Irish Hare.

National Survey of Hares
Tender Specification and additional details

Stress and Capture Myopathy in Hares - 28 January 2005
A report by the Irish Hare Initiative

Coursing: Photos and Video

For photos and video clips showing the cruelty of coursing, please visit our Ban Hare Coursing website.

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