The Republic of Ireland has become one of the last remaining countries in the world to allow hare coursing. The cruel blood sport has already been banned in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and remains illegal in most civilised nations.
In 1993, the muzzling of greyhounds in enclosed coursing was introduced. As predicted by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports at the time, muzzling has failed to eliminate the cruelty from coursing.
Thousands of hares are snatched from the wild and chased by greyhounds. Some of the hares will be battered and mauled into the ground by the dogs. Some will sustain injuries so severe that they will die on the coursing fields. All will suffer the fear and stress of running for their lives.
Please join us in telling the Irish Government that it is now time to replace live hare coursing with drag coursing.
This would involve a simple transition from the use of live hares to the use of a mechanical lure. This lure is rapidly pulled along the ground and, through a system of pulleys, is made to emulate the sudden changes in direction made by hares. Drag coursing is practised successfully in several countries around the world, including the USA, Canada and Australia where live hare coursing is illegal.
All hares used in coursing are victims and they all suffer the fear and stress of being violently snatched from their habitats, thrown into crates, transported to coursing compounds and kept in captivity for months. Among the hare injuries and deaths recorded are:
• 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".
• A hare destroyed by a vet after it was found suffering with a dislocated hip
• A hare that died "from knocks sustained during coursing"
• A hare released back into the wild with a "damaged leg" that "could be broken"
• A hare found dead in a coursing compound after succumbing to pneumonia.
• A vet treated three hares for "minor abrasions" and "witnessed three other hares that appeared to die after coursing without any outward signs of injury. One of these was sent to the local regional veterinary laboratory. Post-mortem findings included internal adhesions, suggestive of an old condition."
• Seven hares badly hit by greyhounds, with three dying as a result of the injuries.
• An injured hare with "marks on its back and bare areas".
• Two hares found dead in a coursing club paddock. An autopsy showed that one died from well established pneumonia while the other died from so-called "natural causes". Another died "during transportation from Loughrea to Westport."
• 13 hares hit by dogs and 1 put down because of injuries and 3 died from injuries. Veterinary opinion was that they died "from knocks sustained during coursing the previous day."
The pictures show how is struck forcibly and tossed into the air by the greyhounds at the “Crohane” coursing event held in County Tipperary in October 2013.
Film footage of hare coursing in Ireland: