THE Irish Council Against Blood Sports (ICABS) have called for a permanent ban on hare coursing following allegations of animals being “savagely mauled” at a coursing event in County Limerick last weekend.
Anti blood sports campaigners captured horrific footage of hares being struck multiple times and mauled into the ground by the muzzled dogs at the Ardpatrick and Kilfinane coursing event.
“It exposes the myth of cruelty-free coursing that the government claims has been the result of muzzling greyhounds at Irish hare coursing events,” animal rights activist John Fitzgerald said of the footage.
“The cruelty was filmed despite frenzied efforts by the coursing club to prevent filming by positioning vehicles to block the vision and paths of the camera people. The film shows the unfortunate hares being savaged and shows one of them being put down by a dispatcher who is running off the field with the doomed animal,” he explained.
ICABS intend to present this latest footage to Arts and Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys as further evidence that “hare coursing is beyond reform and that the so-called regulations introduced to protect hares are worthless”.
“Witnessing these appalling scenes at the Ardpatrick and Kilfinane coursing meeting, it was never clearer that the time has come for this shameful bloodsport to be finally banned in Ireland,” an ICABS spokesman told the Limerick Post.
“ICABS is again contacting Minister Humphreys, the Taoiseach and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to demand an immediate withdrawal of the 2017-18 coursing licence.”
They are also calling on Limerick people to contact their local TDs and urge them to back a ban on hare coursing.
Limerick animal rights activist John Carmody described coursing as “a ghastly reminder of how backward and outdated we are as a nation and how indifferent we are to the plight of these gentle creatures”.
“How can the Government on one hand ban the use of wild animals in circuses and yet allow this most grotesque activity that has went well beyond its time — from an era when we knew no better?” he asked.
There was no response from the Irish Coursing Club at the time of going to print.
by Alan Jacques