I've no plans to ban coursing: Minister O'Donoghue
24 August 2006
Despite being aware that hare coursing is opposed by eighty per cent of Irish citizens, the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O'Donoghue, has announced that he has no plans to ban the cruel activity.
Responding to a letter from ICABS to An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, the Minister ruled out an end to the blood sport which sees thousands of hares snatched from the wild annually and forced to run for their lives in front of muzzled greyhounds.
"I do not have any plans at present to introduce a ban on coursing," Minister O'Donoghue stated, "but I will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that coursing is run in a well-controlled and responsible manner in the interest of animal welfare, both for hares and greyhounds alike."
Considering that coursing is an intrinsically cruel activity, ICABS finds the idea that it is, or could ever be, carried out in an animal welfare-friendly fashion to be absolutely absurd. As long as hares are used in coursing, there is no possibility of it being compatible with acceptable animal welfare standards.
Minister O'Donoghue's response is particularly disappointing as he has been made fully aware of a perfectly viable and humane alternative to coursing. In drag coursing, the greyhounds chase an inanimate object dragged rapidly along the ground; no cruelty to hares is involved.
Please contact Minister O'Donoghue and urge him to immediately ban hare coursing in Ireland.
Minister John O'Donoghue
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Dear Minister O'Donoghue,
I am very disappointed to learn that, in a recent letter to the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, you stated that you had no plans to ban the cruel blood sport of hare coursing.
This announcement totally disregards the fact that eight in ten Irish citizens (from both rural and urban areas) want this deplorable activity finally outlawed. It is regrettable that you are siding with the minority who get pleasure out of snatching timid hares from the wild in nets, keeping them in captivity for several weeks and forcing them to run for their lives ahead of greyhounds.
The muzzling of greyhounds hasn't, and never could, eliminate the cruelty from hare coursing. Photographs and video footage presented on the ICABS website clearly show the suffering being endured by hares in this outdated activity. Hares are not only killed as a result of being pounded into the ground by the hounds but they are also all at risk of succumbing to the stress-related condition known as capture myopathy. At one coursing meeting, a veterinary inspector highlighted how 40 hares died as a result of the condition.
How long more is the government going to tolerate those who abuse this most cherished of creatures? No amount of monitoring will spare the hare from the cruelty of coursing. That can only be achieved by an outright ban on the blood sport. I hope that you can do the right thing for both the hare species and the international image of Ireland as a civilised nation and urgently bring coursing to an end.
Thank you. I eagerly await your positive response.