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ICABS blasts "coursing is humane" claim
28 September 2007

In a statement issued earlier this month, Fianna Fail TD, Tom McEllistrim, welcomed the licensing of hare coursing and described the blood sport as "thoroughly humane". ICABS has blasted the Kerry TDís remarks as ill-founded and inaccurate.

For more details, please see below for article from The Kingdom newspaper.

Hare Coursing Gallery - Image 1
A hare is mauled into the ground by a muzzled greyhound during a coursing meeting. Kerry TD, Tom McEllistrim, has claimed that this appalling animal abuse is "thoroughly humane".

Blood sport haters trap Kerry TD in cruelty row
The Kingdom, 27th September, 2007

Furious anti blood sports campaigners have rounded on Kerry TD, Tom McEllistrim, for suggesting that hare coursing is humane.

In a letter to this newspaper, Deputy McEllistrim, welcomed the decision by Environment Minister, John Gormley, to grant a licence to coursing clubs to continue the age-old tradition.

The Fianna Fail TD maintained that coursing was "thoroughly humane" and was particularly popular in North Kerry where hares are very numerous around the countryside.

"Trapping the hares helps to control high densities of the animal which many landowners consider agricultural pests," said Deputy McEllistrim.

"Hare coursing is very much part of life for many people in North Kerry and Iím delighted they can now practice the sport again this year while adhering to the appropriate guidelines," he added.

But the Irish Council Against Blood Sports has described the Kerry TDís remarks as ill-founded and inaccurate.

"Deputy McEllistrim clearly doesn't comprehend the meaning of the word humane," said spokesman Philip Kiernan.

"Either that or he is ignoring the damning evidence logged by staff from the Department of the Environment's National Parks and Wildlife Service division."

Mr Kiernan said wildlife rangers have been recording the horrors of coursing for years and copies of their reports, obtained by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, explicitly convey the cruelty.

He said recorded evidence of recorded cruelty includes:

  • a hare squealing in distress after being caught by a muzzled dog

  • a mauled hare suffering with a badly broken hind leg

  • pregnant hares being forced to run for their lives

  • a hare in agony in a coursing enclosure with its leg almost completely broken off

  • hares dying due to the stress of being snatched from the wild

  • hares dying after being severely mauled by the dogs.

"By no stretch of the imagination could coursing ever be described as humane. Along with foxhunting and carted deer hunting, it's one of the most inhumane and callous acts of animal abuse," Mr Kiernan insisted.

He said the Irish Council Against Blood Sports invites Deputy McEllistrim to view a video presentation at which shows the appalling suffering endured by hares.

"This footage underlines why a majority of Irish people want the government to act to spare the hare the cruelty of coursing," Mr Kiernan added.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports had unsuccessfully appealed to Minister Gormley to firmly refuse to licence coursing clubs and presented him with a number of other options which could eliminate cruelty.

"We brought to his attention the fact that mechanical lure coursing is a perfectly viable option available to the coursers. This humane form of coursing is practised successfully in Australia where live lure coursing is outlawed," Mr Kieran stated.

He pointed out that the Green Party's stated policy is that when in government it would introduce legislation to end blood sports, but they expressed disappointment that the first Green Party minister didnít completely outlaw the practice of snatching hares from the wild for use as live lures.

"Itís a barbaric and outdated activity," said Mr Kiernan.

Videos: The cruelty of hare coursing

Hare coursing

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