Fianna Fail committed to coursing continuing
02 May 2007
Fianna Fail has declared that the party is "committed" to the continuation of coursing in Ireland. Responding to an ICABS appeal to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, a spokesperson defended the blood sport, claiming that the muzzling of greyhounds results in less hares being killed.
"Fianna Fail in government is committed to ensuring coursing in Ireland is run in a controlled and responsible manner which takes into account the animal welfare of hares and greyhounds alike," stated Gerry Hickey, Special Adviser to An Taoiseach.
ICABS is enormously disappointed at this response, particularly as the Taoiseach is on record as saying that he is "totally opposed" to coursing and that he hopes that "many more people reject coursing".
Considering that coursing is intrinsically cruel, ICABS finds the suggestion 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 whatsoever of it being compatible with acceptable animal welfare standards.
We also find this response to be an affront to the majority of the electorate who want hare coursing banned. Past polls have put the opposition as high as 80-90 per cent of the population.
ICABS will be urgently renewing our appeal to Fianna Fail to reconsider its stance on blood sports. We will remind them once again that muzzling has not, and never will, eliminate the cruelty of coursing.
Thousands of hares continue to be snatched from the wild and chased by greyhounds every year. Some are battered and mauled into the ground by the dogs; some sustain injuries so severe that they will die during or after the coursing meeting; some die from stress-related conditions; all suffer the fear of being taken out of their natural environment and forced to run for their lives.
Please join with us in urging Fianna Fail to condemn coursing and to give a commitment to banning it in the coming months. Our latest action alerts appear below.
ACTION ALERT 1
Please contact Mr Ahern and urge him to update Fianna Fail's policy in relation to blood sports. Tell him that a majority of the electorate want these cruel activities banned.
Dear An Taoiseach,
I am very disappointed to learn that, in a recent letter to the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, your Special Adviser stated that Fianna Fail is "committed" to the continuation of coursing in Ireland.
This announcement totally disregards the fact that as many as eight in ten Irish citizens (from both rural and urban areas) want this deplorable activity outlawed. It is regrettable that Fianna Fail is 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.
ACTION ALERT 2
Please write to Minister Dick Roche and demand that he stop licensing hare coursing.
Minister Dick Roche
ACTION ALERT 3
Please appeal to Minister Mary Coughlan (she is responsible for animal welfare and the Protection of Animals Act) to intervene to end hare coursing.
Minister Mary Coughlan
More information: Hare coursing and Drag Coursing