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Complaint to AIB over "sports action" coursing photo
23 October 2013

The hare coursing photograph on display in an AIB branch in Skibbereen. The bank has been criticised for allowing animal cruelty images to be considered in the "sports action" category of the photojournalism awards it sponsors.

ICABS has complained to Allied Irish Bank over a hare coursing image which was given 3rd place in the bank-sponsored Photojournalism Awards 2013.

The image, which shows a hare desperately jumping away from a greyhound at the Irish Cup coursing meeting, received the award in the competition's "Sports Action" category. It can be viewed at

In an email to AIB, ICABS expressed disgust that a scene of animal cruelty has been categorised as "sports action".

We told AIB CEO, David Duffy, of how we have witnessed hares being hit and mauled into the ground at the Irish Cup. We provided links to videos showing coursing cruelty at Irish Cup venue, Limerick Racecourse - including footage of a hare crying out when hit by greyhounds.

How can AIB, the Photojournalism Awards' sole sponsor, stand by and allow hare coursing to be categorised as a "sport"?

"Every year, thousands of Irish hares are snatched from the Irish countryside and forced to run for their lives in this vile activity," we stated. "It reflects very poorly on AIB that cruelty images are given awards and showcased at AIB branches. Hare coursing is deemed so cruel that it is illegal in all our neighbouring jurisdictions - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland."

We urged the bank to follow the example of companies who responded positively to an ICABS appeal last year and disassociated from cruel coursing at Limerick Racecourse. Following the Irish Cup coursing event, we contacted the companies which had advertising banners at the racecourse where the coursing was taking place. We sent them film footage of the activity, and all responded by having their banners removed from the racecourse for this year’s event. There was not one banner to be seen in the area, which speaks volumes about the attitude of the business community (Guinness, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Specsavers, Shannon Airport and many more) to live hare coursing, which clearly they don’t want to be associated with.

This is not the first time that a bloodsport photo has been featured in the AIB-sponsored competition. See below for a list of coursing photos which have previously been given awards in its sports category.

In an email to the president of the Press Photographers Association (who organise the awards), we pointed out that "hare coursing is animal cruelty and in no way can it ever be considered a sport."

"Coursing involves snatching hares from the wild and using them as live lures for dogs," we outlined to Michael Chester. "Including cruelty images contaminates the PPAI awards' sports category and is an insult to the genuine sports featured. We suggest that an animal cruelty category be created to deal with coursing photographs."


Urge the AIB to disallow hare coursing images in the "Sports" category of the photo awards. Suggest that an animal cruelty category be introduced to deal with bloodsports photos entered in to the competition.

David Duffy
Chief Executive Officer
AIB Group Headquarters
Dublin 4, Ireland.
Tel: +353 (0) 1 6600311
Email via AIB website

Complain to Michael Chester, president of the Press Photographers Association of Ireland.

Tel: 087 8072295

Previous coursing images in PPAI / AIB Photo Awards

2011 Sports Portfolio category: A selection of photos, including one of a hare being chased by greyhounds, wins first place. View photo

2009 Sports Action category: A photo of a hare being chased by greyhounds during a snowstorm at the Clonmel coursing finals was given 3rd place. Praising the photo, a judge stated: "This photograph has great colour, a great sense of speed and in ways the sense of a painting. Such a good photograph allows you to see detail you never see in reality – look at the lead dog’s eyes." View photo

2008 Sports Action category: A photo of a hare trying to escape from a greyhound at a coursing meeting in Tipperary was considered. View photo

2006 Sports Action category: A photo showing a hare running away from two greyhounds during a coursing meet in Clonmel was awarded 2nd place. View photo

Video: A hare cries out when hit at Limerick Racecourse
A link to this video has been sent to AIB. It shows a hare crying out when hit by greyhounds at Limerick Racecourse. This is the same venue where the 3rd place photo was captured.

Sign anti-coursing petitions
Petition to Ban horrific Hare Coursing Cruelty in Ireland
Stop sponsoring hare coursing in Ireland
Find more petitions on our Petitions Page

Urgently contact An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore. Ask them to show compassion for wildlife and introduce an immediate ban on hare coursing and all bloodsports.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Telephone: 01-6194020

An Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore
Office of the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade,
Tel: 01 6183566 (Dail) or 01 408 2000 (Iveagh House)

Email Both:;

Ask Minister Deenihan and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to respect the wishes of the majority who want hare coursing banned and withdraw the coursing licence.

Jimmy Deenihan, TD
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
23 Kildare Street
Dublin 2

Tel: (01) 631 3804
Fax: (01) 661 1201

Constituency Details
18A The Square, Listowel, Co Kerry
Telephone: 068-57446
Fax: 068-57805

Urge Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to remove exemptions for coursing from the Animal Health and Welfare Bill.

Minister Simon Coveney
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Contact all your local TDs now. Demand that they urgently push for bans on coursing and foxhunting.

Find out their contact details
Please also arrange a meeting with your TDs at their local clinics.

Videos: Ireland's hare coursing cruelty

A hare is hit into the ground at the JP McManus-sponsored coursing meeting at Limerick Racecourse. February 2013

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