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ICABS complaint over coursing on BBC's Coast
25 August 2010

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has complained to the BBC about a recent edition of its Coast programme (Series 5, episode 5) in which coursing was portrayed in a positive light. Please respond to our action alert now.

In our letter of complaint, we challenged the bizarre notion presented on the programme that coursing is somehow beneficial to hares. Referring to the capture of hares from Oyster Island in Sligo for use in coursing, presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff stated that "I'm not comfortable with the idea that hares should be managed for sport" but then added that "here, there may be a positive side to it."

According to BBC's Coast, there "may be a positive side" to violently netting hares like this and using them as live lures in front of coursing greyhounds.

"To suggest that hares on an isolated, non-inhabited island could somehow benefit from being violently netted, thrown in crates, removed from their natural habitat, brought to the mainland, kept in captivity for weeks/months, trained to run up a coursing field and eventually forced to run for their lives in front of greyhounds is utterly laughable," ICABS stated in our correspondence to the BBC.

We also challenged a statement made on the programme by Dr Neil Reid who commented that coursing is "quite popular" in Ireland.

ICABS emphasised that coursing is certainly not popular in Ireland and that it is very much a minority activity. We highlighted that successive opinion polls have shown that a majority of Irish people want the blood sport outlawed and that a strong campaign is ongoing to achieve this.

In response to a statement by Miranda Krestovnikoff that "after competitions, the hares are released back to where they came from", we pointed out that in the past season alone, ICABS has identified several instances where hares are released back to different locations. Of course, the hares that are battered into the ground, suffering fatal internal injuries don't make it back to the wild. This element of injury and death was glossed over in Coast in favour of presenting the activity in a positive light.

The impression given on the programme was that hares happily continue with their lives after release. However, the reality is that the coursing ordeal compromises the hare's chances of survival. The creatures are at risk of dying weeks and months afterwards and indeed dead hares have been found post-release. The subsequent survival of hares is an issue the National Parks and Wildlife Service has acknowledged. In one of their reports, they question the "reproductive viability of hares post-coursing and the impact on local population demographics of hare removal and return."

ICABS is very disappointed at the Coast programme for choosing to portray a cruel blood sport in a positive light. We have told them that this is very offensive to the majority of Irish people who support our campaign to get this disgusting activity outlawed. We have called on them to address our points as part of any re-broadcast of this edition of the programme.

An Irish coursing scene (complete with upbeat orchestral music) featured on BBC's Coast. ICABS has lodged a complaint about the programme's content.


Join us in our appeal to the BBC to exclude the positive portrayal of hare coursing from future airings of this edition of Coast. Urge them to avoid featuring animal cruelty activities on upcoming programmes.

Write to: BBC Complaints, PO Box 1922, Darlington, DL3 0UR, UK

Email your letter from: BBC Website

See more information about the programme at


Urge Minister John Gormley to stop licensing coursing. Send a copy of your correspondence to all of your TDs and encourage them to back a ban on the blood sport.

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Custom House, Dublin 1.
[CC - An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen]
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses

(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Dear Minister Gormley,

I am disappointed to learn that you have issued a licence to the Irish Coursing Club for another season of coursing cruelty.

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 your NPWS division. 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 urge you to act on the wishes of the electorate who want this activity outlawed. Please stop licensing coursing.

Thank you, Minister.

Yours sincerely,


Campaign Videos: Ban Coursing in Ireland

More ICABS Videos

Slideshow: the cruelty of hare coursing in Ireland

Further Reading
The Facts About Hare Coursing
Stress and Capture Myopathy in Hares
Irish Hare: "conservation status is poor"
Hares and rabbits factsheet

More information about hare coursing

Coursing: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

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