Join our weekly protest against Gormley's coursing licence - Week 1
17 October 2008
One-click Action Alert: Click here to send an email to Minister Gormley
Every week throughout the 2008-09 coursing season, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports will be reminding Minister John Gormley (Green Party) about the suffering being caused to thousands of hares thanks to a licence he granted to the Irish Coursing Club. Please join us by responding to our weekly One Click Action Alert (Week 1)
The licence issued by Minister Gormley allows thousands of hares to be forcefully removed from the wild in nets. The creatures, which will have suffered the stress of being netted, handled by humans and transported in crates to coursing enclosures, will be kept in captivity for up to three months. During this time, they will be mercilessly used as lures for greyhounds.
Some of the hares will be battered and mauled by the greyhounds. Some will sustain injuries so severe that they will die during or following the coursing. All will suffer the fear and stress of running for their lives.
Minister Gormley issued this blood sport licence despite compelling conservation reasons for it to be refused. The licence is also contrary to the Green Party's pre-election promise that they would end blood sports in government
In one of several appeals to Minister Gormley, ICABS highlighted the injuries and deaths suffered by hares in the last season following the coursing licence he issued in 2007. We also flagged the conservation reasons for a licence refusal. We reminded the Minister of a report he himself issued in May (Status of EU Protected Habitats & Species in Ireland) which warned that the overall conservation status of the Irish Hare is "POOR". The reasons given included loss of habitat, increased urbanisation and hunting.
We also highlighted how the coursers themselves have complained about a lack of hares. We cited a National Parks and Wildlife Service monitoring report which quoted one coursing official as admitting that "this particular year the most difficult ever to find and capture wild hares". He went on to tell the ranger that "more man-hours were spent this year looking for hares and yet the number caught was low...the hares are just not out on the land anymore."
As part of our impassioned plea to the Minister to fulfil his duty to protect the Irish Hare, ICABS also emphasised Ireland's obligations in relation to the EU Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and Wild Fauna and Flora. We pointed to Article 14.1 of the Directive which states that any exploitation of a protected species must be "compatible with their being maintained at a favourable conservation status."
We also reminded him that coursing is now illegal in the UK and it has been stopped in Northern Ireland since 2004. Minister Gormley's Northern counterpart, Minister Sammy Wilson, recently extended the ban on hare persecution there until at least March 2009. Minister Wilson's commendable move came amid fears for the "the stability and sustainability of the hare population".
WEEKLY ACTION ALERT - Week 1
Please register your disappointment at Minister John Gormley's decision to grant a licence for another season of hare coursing. Remind him about the animal cruelty that the licence has facilitated and urge him to permanently revoke the licence.
Minister John Gormley
Dear Minister Gormley,
Over the coming days, hares will be used as live lures for greyhounds at coursing meetings in Loughrea, Abbeydorney, Edenderry, Crohane and Killenaule
I wish to express my great personal disappointment that this animal cruelty is taking place as a direct result of a licence you chose to grant to the Irish Coursing Club earlier this year.
The hares used at these blood sport events will have already suffered (and may have been injured) while being violently netted from the wild, confined in crates and transferred from their natural habitats to coursing club enclosures. They will also undoubtedly have suffered the fear and stress of being kept in captivity and chased by greyhounds during training sessions. On the days of the coursing, the ordeal for these solitary creatures continues with them being forced to run for their lives in front of greyhounds before a cheering mob of heartless onlookers.
Minister, it is particularly saddening that this cruelty has been licensed by you for another season at a time when there are concerns for the future of the species. A report that you yourself issued in May concluded that the overall conservation status of the Irish Hare is poor and that "local factors likely to negatively influence hare numbers include hunting."
It is absolutely shameful that this assault on the hare species is still taking place. I urge you to respect the wishes of the majority of the electorate who want coursing banned by permanently revoking the current coursing licence.
[*** Insert Your Name and Location Here ***]
Hare coursing cruelty (2007/08 Season)
Dundalk & Dowdallshill, December 26/27, 2007
Gorey, Co. Wexford, 21/22 October, 2007
Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Nov 24/25, 07
Tradaree, January 12/13, 2008
Tubbercurry, January 11/12/13, 2008
North Kilkenny, Dec 22& 23, 2007
Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry, October 13 & 14, 2007
Kilflynn, Co. Kerry, December 1st/2nd, 2007
Castleisland, Co. Kerry, October 28 & 29, 2007
Abbeydorney, Co. Kerry, October 20 & 21, 2007
Ballyduff, Co. Kerry, November 16/17/18
Rathcormac, Co. Cork, Nov 24 & 25, 2007
Wexford & District, Dec 12 & 13
Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, 24/25 November, 2007
"I have also noticed at several meetings down through the years that if the dogs hit and pin the hare, the guy on the horse always gets in front of the Ranger to prevent us from seeing what is happening."
Castletown-Geoghegan, Westmeath, 15/16 December, 2007
Cavan & District, November 16/17/18
Freshford, Co. Kilkenny, November 3 & 4, 2007
Listowel, Co. Kerry, November 9/10, 2007
Glin, Co. Limerick, Oct 6
Templetouhy, Jan 5 & 6 2008
There were 4 hares hit by greyhounds over the 2 days. 1 injured hare was brought to a vet and declared fit to be released, but 'showed limited mobility' when released. It was stated that 'two hares were pinned on day one of the coursing meeting. These animals were boxed and kept separate from the main bunch of hares till inspected by attending vet. Both hares were considered unharmed and were returned to the main paddock. There was a query re hares being brought down from the paddock to be boxed again, and whether these hares were separated from coursed hares.
Tralee, Co.Kerry, December 26 & 27, 2007
Killimer/Kilrush, Nov 24 & 25
Glanworth, Dec 4/5/6
Ballinagar, Co. Offaly, Oct 27 & 28, 2007
Ranger observes in his report that "62 hares were used for coursing and I noticed this year that the number and the quality of hares appeared to be poor, compared to previous years..I also noticed that the number of coursing events had to be cut because there was an insufficient number of hares." In addition he stated that a club official pointed out to him that they found "this particular year the most difficult ever to find and capture wild hares. He said 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. He also told me that his club might have to amalgamate with Edenderry as the Ballinagar club is struggling to find hares any more."
Mallow, Co. Cork, Nov 11/12, 2008-06-02
East Donegal, Dec 29/30
Blarney (Macroom Coursing Club) Jan 16/17 08
Loughrea, Co. Galway, 19, 20 & 21 October, 2007
Milltown Malbay, October 27 & 28, 2007
Galway & Oranmore, Nov 17/18, 07
Clonakilty, Co. Cork, January 112/13, 2008
Trim, Co. Meath, 3 & 4 November, 2007
Lixnaw, Co. Kerry, 2/3/4 November, 2007
Abbeyfeale, Co. Kerry, December 29/30
Roseberry Open, December 26, 2007
Video: Coursing cruelty
Videos: Drag Coursing - The Humane Alternative
More information about hare coursing
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Please consider making a small donation to ICABS. For more details, please click on the button below or follow this link to find out how to become a campaign supporter. Thank you.