Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hare Coursing

There is a bit of a clash between the Greens and Fianna Fail at the moment about Hare coursing. I have never gone hare coursing but I have participated in the catching of hares when I was a kid. Me and a cousin jumped in the back of a van. Were brought to a bog and with a load of people walking in a line across a bog shouting. Frighting the hares down to the other end of the bog to where they were netted. Now hares a furry and cuddly and cutsy pie so people don’t like to think of them being chased down by a pack of baying hounds. But as Limerick West Fianna Fáil TD John Cregan says

Trapping the hares helps to control high densities of the animal which many landowners consider agricultural pests.

Now obviously coursing has got sweet feck all to do with pest control.

For 1 now that dogs or muzzled most hares do not die. If pest control was really the aim of the project then giving a park ranger a shot gun would be far more effective. So lets have less of the bullshit it is a sport nothing more nothing less. So the question is should it be banned?

John Cregan says

Hare coursing, which is thoroughly humane, is particularly popular in West Limerick and hares are very numerous around the countryside.

Now I doubt Mr Cregan would consider being chased by a couple of dogs as particularly humane but is it any more in humane as horse racing? How often do we hear about horse’s being put down each year after a race? Many horses after they have been raced and are to old to race anymore are put down and their meat shipped to France. Hares if they survive the ordeal are released back in the wild at the point where they were captured and are rarely coursed more then once a year. Horses on the other hand get a small man sitting on them for half a year beating the shite out of them with a whip for a mile or 2. So is it really much more cruel then horse racing?

In the end of the day I would probably say that hare coursing is cruel and I would favour a ban. While the object in Irish coursing is to count the amount of times a dog can “turn” a hare (how many times a dog can get the hare to change course) rather then the English catch a hare method. It is unnecessary cruelty. But on the scale of things it is not that bad certainly no where near fox hunting in cruelty where the object is to kill. Maybe we should be wondering about horse racing as well as to me it seems pretty similar on the cruelty stakes and possibly greater on death stakes (if anyone has stats on horse deaths please let me know). But horse racing is growing in popularity coursing is not. And no body is calling to ban on horse racing. Too fashionable I guess.

The reason that John Gormley is having pressure applied to him on this issue is that coursing means votes. Even though 68% of people polled wanted it banned I would wager that 32% is far more passionate about it then the 68%. Banning it wouldn’t get many votes (might save a few of the Greens votes hence why Gormley should really push this for the sake of the party) but it certainly would lose a few votes for Fianna Fail. Few would have a ban on coursing as a priority when voting but certainly removing a ban on coursing would have votes. I guess that is democracy for you give the people what they really want not just what they kinda want.


Eamonn said...

Before we rush to any rash decisions, let us ponder where Snatch would have been as a movie without that hare coursing scene!

Anonymous said...

To witness the cruelty of coursing, please view the Irish Council Against Blood Sports video presentation at

Hares continue to suffer appalling injuries on the coursing fields. Sickening examples include:

* A hare "squealing in distress" after being caught by a muzzled dog
* A hare suffering with "a badly broken hind leg"
* A hare "carrying a hind leg"
* A hare with "a damaged hind toe"
* A coursed hare with a "badly broken hind leg [which] seemed to be in great distress"
* A hare in agony in a coursing enclosure with its leg "almost completely broken off".

Some hares are so severely mauled that they drop dead or have to be put down. Others die due to stress-related illness. For more information, please visit