Capture data adds to fears for hares
22 August 2008
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Revelations in National Parks & Wildlife Service reports that coursers are finding it difficult to find hares have sparked fresh fears for the future of the species. In an appeal to Minister Gormley to halt coursing, ICABS stated that this latest data adds to the already compelling conservation reasons to refuse a hare netting licence to the coursers.
A report on coursing in Offaly says that the Ballinagar club could only find 63 hares (including one leveret) for use in their blood sport.
The quality of the hares caught “appeared to be poor”, the NPWS ranger outlined, pointing out that the club had to reduce the number of courses over the 2-day meet.
The ranger added that a club official told him that the coursers found “this particular year the most difficult ever to find and capture wild hares” and that “more man-hours were spent this year looking for hares and yet the number caught was low.”
“He said that the hares are just not out on the land anymore,” the ranger continued. “He also told me that his club might have to amalgamate with Edenderry as the Ballinagar club is struggling to find hares any more.”
The reports also revealed that other clubs had low numbers of hares with Galway and Oranmore with just 49, Trim with 50 and Loughrea with 55.
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has brought this to the attention of Minister Gormley as part of our latest appeal to him to refuse further licences to the Irish Coursing Club.
"As you are about to make a decision on the granting of a licence to net hares from the wild for use as live lures at coursing meetings, we appeal to you not to grant this licence for compelling conservation reasons," we stated. "Your own report issued last May stated that the conservation status of the Irish hare was 'poor'. These revelations from the NPWS should be sounding further alarm bells in relation to pressure on our hare population."
Please urgently contact Environment Minister, John Gormley, and appeal to him to prohibit all forms of hare persecution, including hare hunting and hare coursing.
Minister John Gormley
Dear Minister Gormley,
The conservation status of the Irish Hare has been described as "poor" in the recently published "Report on Status of Habitats and Species in Ireland". Furthermore, the NPWS division of your department has confirmed on its website that "numbers have decreased in recent years". This is cause for enormous concern to myself and the majority of Irish people who value the hare as an important part of our precious heritage.
Minister, as you are no doubt aware, most people in this country want the hare to be allowed to live free from persecution by coursing and hare hunting clubs. We oppose the cruelty inherent in these outdated activities but also the threat they pose to regional hare populations and the species as a whole.
In coursing, hares continue to die at all stages - during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity, during the coursing meetings and also subsequent to their release back to the wild. Such deaths have been documented by the NPWS. These timid and fragile creatures die as a result of physical injuries or from the stress caused by human handling and being chased by greyhounds.
I implore you to act on the wishes of the electorate, and on the stark findings of the habitats and species report, and immediately ban coursing and hare hunting.
Thank you, Minister.
Minister Gormley: Take the hare out of coursing
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is calling for the Irish Hare to be taken out of coursing in Ireland. We have again brought to the attention of Minister John Gormley a series of video presentations which show the humane alternative - drag coursing. It is clear from these that there is absolutely no need for hares in coursing.
In the coming weeks, Minister Gormley will be making a decision on the licensing of hare coursing. Licences in previous years have allowed the forceful removal of thousands of hares from their natural habitats in the Irish countryside. After being netted, these most timid and gentle of creatures have been kept in captivity for up to two months and eventually forced to run for their lives in front of muzzled greyhounds. Hares have died from after being mauled into the ground by the dogs and also from the stress of being confined and chased. Captured hares are at risk of dying before, during and after coursing meetings.
Please click on the eight selected video presentations below and see for yourself how easy it is to replace the hare with an inanimate lure. Drag coursing (also known as lure coursing) is simple to set up in any field and provides greyhounds and other dogs with the same chase experience - the plastic lure can be speeded up or slowed down and, by using a series of pulleys, its course can be varied to make it unpredictable to the dogs.
There is no excuse for live hare coursing in 2008. The time has now come for drag coursing to replace this cruel blood sport. Please urgently join us in calling on Minister Gormley to refuse a licence to the Irish Coursing Club. Ask as many of your friends and family to join our appeal.
Please contact Environment Minister, John Gormley, and ask him to save the Irish Hare from the cruelty of coursing.
Minister John Gormley
Dear Minister Gormley,
I have watched the Drag Coursing video presentations on the Irish Council Against Blood Sports' website and I agree entirely that the existence of this humane alternative makes it totally unnecessary for hares to be used in coursing in Ireland.
Drag coursing is practised successfully in England, the USA and Australia and there is no reason for a modern and civilised country like Ireland to reject it. The greyhounds and other dogs used can be seen enthusiastically chasing the artificial lure which is dragged along the ground. The speed of the lure can be changed during each course and the direction it takes through the system of pulleys can also be set up to emulate the movements of a live lure.
After watching the video footage, I am sure that you will agree that there is absolutely no excuses for hares to be used in coursing.
I urge you to take the hare out of coursing and refuse a licence to the Irish Coursing Club.
Thanks very much, Minister. I look forward to your positive reply.