‘Profits for a small few, while hares are terrorised’ in coursing – Paul Murphy

“This is a cruel, barbaric and outdated practice,” according to RISE TD Paul Murphy, who has introduced a bill in a bid to prohibit hare coursing in Ireland.

This week, the deputy introduced his proposals for the Animal Health and Welfare (Ban on Hare Coursing) Bill 2020; to amend the Wildlife Act 1976 and the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013; along with making consequential and other amendments to the Greyhound Industry Act 1958 and other acts relating to such coursing. 

Speaking in the Dáil, he said that hare coursing means “profit for a small few, while hares are terrorised”.

“Hare coursing means capturing over 5,000 hares from the wild every year. It means holding them in captivity in close confinement; despite the fact that they are solitary animals.

“It means training them and then their being coursed – in other words, having them run for their lives as two dogs 10 times their size chase the hare to see which dog can turn it first.

It means profits for a small few; like the gambling industry, which has sponsored events in recent years, while hares are terrorised for a supposed sport.

“The dogs being muzzled means the number of deaths has been reduced, but over the last four seasons, 75 hares have still been killed.

“Many more have been seriously injured; with almost 600 hares being pinned to the ground in recent years.”

According to deputy Murphy, this is the third time such a bill has been introduced in the Dáil, following from Tony Gregory in 1993 and Maureen O’Sullivan in 2015.

The TD said he is “following in their footsteps”.

This is a cruel, barbaric and outdated practice. It has been banned across Britain and Northern Ireland and across all of the EU apart from three countries, including Ireland.

“Sometimes, in defence of hare coursing, it is suggested that it is part of rural culture. That is not the case.

“The vast majority of people in rural Ireland have absolutely nothing to do with hare coursing.”