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Shocking false claim about hare coursing from Minister Humphreys' office
24 September 2015

Hares hit by muzzled dogs can be killed outright or suffer injuries so severe, they have to be put down. Claims by Minister Humphreys' office that muzzles prevent injuries are completely false.

In a letter dated August 2015 to Cllr Deirdre Forde (Cork County Council, FG) about hare coursing, a secretary in Arts Minister Heather Humphreys’ office stated: “It is important that you would be aware that all greyhounds are muzzled during these coursing events in order to prevent injury to the hares.” The letter was obtained by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, along with other documents, under the Freedom of Information Act.

“We are shocked that a letter from Minister Heather Humphreys’ office would make this totally false claim. Muzzles do not prevent injuries to hares, and it has been proven over and over again, via reports on coursing meetings, that hares are pinned down and injured, with some dying from their injuries or having to be put down. In addition, video footage has been obtained by ICABS, which shows hares being battered and mauled by greyhounds wearing muzzles.

"The Minister and her officials know full well that hares are being injured year after year, as reports obtained by us under FOI show, yet they are covering up and putting it into the public domain that muzzles save hares from injury and death,” said Aideen Yourell of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports.

In fact, detailed in reports of coursing meetings in 2014/15, received by us under FOI, were the following:

Tubbercurry - 9 hares “required assistance” (coursers' euphemism for hares hit/pinned by greyhounds), with 1 hare being put down and 4 died afterwards.

Dundalk - 8 hares “required assistance”, 3 put down.

Balbriggan - 3 hares “required assistance”, 3 died.

Co. Kerry - 4 hares “required assistance”, 2 died.

Borrisoleigh - 6 hares hit by dogs, with 4 hares dying overnight “most likely from the injuries they received the previous day”, according to the NPWS ranger.

East Donegal - Ranger stated that 2 hares were hit by dogs and noted on his report that “2 hares dead in the enclosure on day no. 2. May have died from injuries on day 1”.

Galway & Oranmore - NPWS ranger stated 6 hares hit by dogs on day 1 (3 hits and 3 pins), 1 hare put down because of injuries on day 2, according to vet; and on day 3, NPWS recorded 5 hits (3 hits, 2 pins).

Enniscorthy - NPWS ranger stated 6 hares struck by greyhounds, 1 injured and 1 put down because of injuries.

Lixnaw - Coursers state that 2 hares “required assistance”, 1 treated by vet and 1 put down because of injuries.

Macroom - Coursers state that 2 hares “required assistance” and 1 died. This hare was described as “killed” by vet.

Mallow - NPWS ranger stated that 3 hares were struck, “1 of which was mauled and had to be carried off) on day 1, and 1 hare hit on day 2.

Wexford & District - NPWS ranger stated that 4 hares pinned over the 2 days, with 1 hare injured and 1 put down because of injuries.

Cashel - Coursers state 1 hare “required assistance” 1 examined by vet and 1 euthanised by vet.

Thurles – the NPWS ranger was drawn to a smell coming from a box containing a hare, which had a large injury to the shoulder and front of one of the legs.” This hare was later euthanised.

North Kilkenny - Ranger report cited 6 hares injured by dogs.

At the majority of the 75 or so coursing meetings last season 2014/15, hares “required assistance”, which means they were hit and/or pinned by the dogs. Greyhounds weighing from 60 to 88 lb travelling at 43mph can do a lot of harm when they hit a fragile 6 to 8lb hare, so it’s no surprise that hares are injured by muzzle-wearing dogs. The above list of hare hits, pins, maulings, injuries and deaths is clear and unequivocal proof that the muzzling of greyhounds does not “prevent injury to the hares” as shamefully and falsely claimed by the Minister’s office.

Last month, Minister Humphreys granted a licence to the coursers to net approx. 5,000 hares from the wild for use as live bait at coursing meetings around the country, starting next weekend and continuing until the end of February.

Hare coursing is outlawed in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and it’s high time it was outlawed here in our Republic. Shame on successive governments who have turned a blind eye to this barbaric activity.


Express your support for a ban on coursing. Sign and share petitions

Stop Licensing Cruel Hare Coursing

Save Irish hares from cruel coursing

Ban horrific hare coursing cruelty in Ireland

Stop sponsoring hare coursing in Ireland

Urge Minister Heather Humphreys to show compassion for the persecuted Irish Hare and revoke the coursing licence she issued.

Email "Stop the cruelty. Revoke the hare coursing licence" to
Tel: (01) 631 3802 or (01) 631 3800
Leave a comment on Facebook -

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

Dear Minister,

I am one of the majority who want hare coursing outlawed. I am writing to urge you to revoke the licence you issued to the Irish Coursing Club.

In coursing, hares suffer at all stages - during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity and during the coursing meetings where they run for their lives in front of greyhounds. Among the injuries recorded are broken legs, damaged toes and dislocated hips. Every season, hare injuries and deaths are documented.

I ask you to please act on the wishes of the majority, show compassion and permanently revoke the licence.

Yours sincerely,


Appeal to the Minister for Agriculture

Please appeal to the Minister for Agriculture to remove an exemption for hare coursing from the Animal Health and Welfare Act.

Simon Coveney, TD
Minister for Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Urgently contact An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and ask him to back a ban on hare coursing.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street,
Dublin 2
Telephone: 01-6194020
Fax: 01-6764048

Contact all your local TDs now. Demand that they urgently push for a ban on hare coursing and all bloodsports. 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 a ban.

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

Slideshow: the cruelty of hare coursing in Ireland

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