Minister wrong to issue hare coursing licence

October 4th, 2020 8:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – September 16th, 2020 will be etched in Ireland’s history timeline as the day when the Irish Hare (Lepus timidus hibernicus) began a quick march to extinction.

On this day, the 2020-21 hare coursing licence was granted by Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien (Fianna Fáil), despite a recommendation from Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan (Green Party) that the annual hare abuse licence be refused.

This refusal was based on the knowledge that a deadly animal disease, RHD-2 (Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease) had arrived, set up shop and is distributing its lethal virus in the Irish countryside. Since RHD (Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease) was first identified in an angora rabbit in Jiangsu Province of the People’s Republic of China this virus has spread around the world.

In 2010, a new virus variant called Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease virus 2 (RHD2), a disease fatal to rabbits and hares but of no risk to humans, emerged in France. The presence and impact of RHD-2 in the Irish countryside could be the survival tipping point for the Irish Hare. Sanctioning hare coursing and hare hunting during this RHD-2 epoch is State-sponsored biodiversity terrorism writ large.

Granting a hare coursing licence displays the Irish government commitment to wildlife conservation.

If that is how a species facing a deadly virus is treated on our shamrock-infused island, one has to ask, is karma being delivered via the wrath of Covid-19?

John Tierney,

Campaigns Director,

Association of Hunt Saboteurs,

PO Box 4734,

Dublin 1.

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