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Former Judge condemns coursing as "legal torture"
23 February 2012

Retired judge, Michael Patwell, has condemned the cruelty of hare coursing, commenting that hares are "terrified and tortured in a most cruel way". Writing in the Evening Echo this week, Mr Patwell said that "civilisation still has a way to go" as long as "a poor timid animal can still be taken out of its habitat, confined, hunted, terrified and often brutally killed".

A judge for over 21 years, Michael Patwell presided over the infamous 1994 blooding case involving the son of greyhound trainer, Ger McKenna, in Tipperary. Video footage (filmed by Donal McIntyre for a BBC documentary about greyhound racing - see below) showing greyhounds being blooded with live rabbits at a private training track, was shown in court. Judge Patwell sentenced Owen McKenna Junior and the other defendants to prison terms.

In his Evening Echo column on Tuesday, Mr Patwell describes hare coursing as "the legal torture of poor timid creatures" and states that:

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports thanks Michael Patwell for speaking out against hare coursing cruelty. We hope many more follow his example and join calls for the activity to be outlawed.

Read the full text of the article below. Find out more about Michael Patwell at

"Pattwell's Verdict"
Evening Echo, February 21st 2012.
Read the full article at

PREVIOUSLY: Judge wrecks coursing party
(Animal Watch, Summer 2000)

District Court Judge, Michael Patwell, lashed out against live hare coursing at Middleton District Court in August, when the Rathcormac Coursing Club made an application for a late night licence for their 50th anniversary dinner-dance celebration.

Judge Patwell refused to recognise the “celebration”, planned for November, as a special event, stating that “half the people in Rathcormac wouldn’t even know the dinner-dance was taking place.”

Describing coursing as “two big dogs chasing a tiny little animal” this was not Judge Patwell’s first time to express his abhorrence of the blood sport.

In 1992, when an application for a late night extension was made by publicans in Clonmel for the National Live Hare Coursing Finals (who described it as an “historic event”), Judge Patwell retorted that “it may well be an historic event, but it involved the killing of innocent animals.”

He went on to say that “he personally did not like it, but would grant the exemption orders because of the legal position.”

Judge Patwell also presided over the infamous greyhound blooding with live rabbits case in Tipperary in 1994, when he sentenced five people, including the 23-year-old son of leading greyhound trainer, Owen McKenna, to three months imprisonment, describing their crime as "horrible savagery."


Contact all your local TDs now. Tell them you are one of the majority who want coursing banned. Remind them that coursing is already illegal in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Urge them to respect the wishes of the majority of the electorate and back the anti-coursing bill being introduced by Maureen O'Sullivan, TD and Clare Daly, TD.

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses.

If you prefer to post a letter to your TDs, address your correspondence to:
Dáil Éireann
Leinster House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2.

How to eliminate the hare from coursing

More ICABS Videos

Greyhound blooding in Ireland

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