Hare hunters refused licence
07 March 2008
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports welcomes Minister John Gormley's decision to refuse a licence for the hunting of hares with packs of dogs during March. We are now calling on the Minister to work towards introducing a year-round ban on this cruel blood sport.
Up to the end of February, the hunters are free to terrorise and kill hares with packs of beagles, with no licence being required, despite the fact that hares are designated a highly protected species in Ireland. There are 129 harrier packs, which hunt both hares and foxes, while there are 22 registered beagle packs hunting hares.
Hare hunting on foot with packs of dogs is a low profile blood sport, with enthusiasts claiming that what they do is "harmless", but hares do die horrendous deaths by being ripped apart by packs of dogs, after being terrorised and chased to exhaustion. A report on the Westmeath Beagles in Hounds magazine in 2006 revealed that having taken an "hour to shift her (the hare) out towards the rushy field at the foot of the medieval church...she succumbed to the pack," gaining the hunters their "first notch on the kennel door" for the season.
A Dublin motorist who witnessed a hare kill described the sickening scene as follows: "A hare came running down the road. I didn't realise what was happening for a moment until a pack of hounds appeared from round the corner. I got out of the car to try and do something but the hounds had caught up with the hare and totally demolished it. All that was left was a tiny piece of fur blowing in the breeze."
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is calling for a year-round ban on this cruel abuse of Ireland's most gentle and defenceless wild creature.
Please contact Environment Minister, John Gormley (Green Party), to thank him for his decision to refuse a hare hunting licence for March. Appeal to him to urgently work towards securing full protection for hares by banning hare hunting and hare coursing.
Minister John Gormley
Dear Minister Gormley,
I wish to thank you for refusing a licence for hare hunting during March. This commendable move will go some way towards protecting our precious and unique hare species from persecution.
Minister, as you are aware, hares continue to be cruelly abused at other times of the year by groups involved in hare coursing and hare hunting. This despite the fact that the Irish Hare is a protected species and an important part of our wildlife heritage.
Your decision to refuse the March licence is very much welcomed by the majority who want hunting and coursing banned. We all hope that this will prove to be just the first step towards affording hares the full protection they deserve.
Thank you, Minister.
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