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LETTER: Video footage of hare coursing event

December 1st, 2018 6:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – Video footage recorded at a recent hare coursing event proves that the practice is as cruel as ever despite claims by apologists for the ‘sport’ that muzzling of greyhounds and other rules adequately protect the hares.

A brave woman went to the coursing event in Co Limerick to secretly film part of the fixture. Secrecy was essential because ‘unauthorised photography’ is prohibited at all coursing events. The warning appears on signs and betting cards.

She captured disturbing scenes that clearly show hares being hit hard; their frail bodies sent tumbling or being flung into the air. Others can be seen running in circles, even leaping over the dogs, in their frantic bid to escape.

The filming continued until coursing officials caught sight of the camera woman. One of them immediately approached her and shone a dazzling bright light at her camera to prevent further filming.

 This intervention is also clearly visible in the footage, which has just been uploaded to YouTube and Facebook page of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports. In the past, ‘unauthorised’ photographers have been ejected from the grounds or assaulted when discovered at coursing fixtures.

In 2016, when TD Maureen O’Sullivan moved an anti-hare coursing Bill, TDs from the two largest parties loudly asserted that hares come to no harm in coursing. This footage says otherwise.

Hares forcibly struck by the dogs in coursing suffer broken bones and other injuries, and even if they survive the event may die afterwards upon release, either from physical injury sustained earlier or stress-related ailments brought on by the whole unnatural experience of capture, confinement, and the contrived chase.

The government should stop trying to regulate this practice that is outlawed in almost all of the jurisdictions that once allowed it. 

It shames Ireland and should be banned outright, like the once popular ‘field sports’ of cock fighting and badger baiting.

John Fitzgerald,

Lower Coyne St,

Callan,

Co Kilkenny.

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