Hare coursing will not be banned after Dail vote defeats Bill

Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan’s Private Members Bill to ban hare coursing in Ireland was defeated in Dail Eireann today following a vote on the issue by TDs.

Of the 164 TDs who voted today, the overwhelming majority (114) voted not to ban hare coursing with just 20 TDs voting for the Bill.

Following today’s vote, Ireland remains one of only three European countries where hare coursing is legal and the last time a Bill was brought to the Dail floor for a vote on the issue was in 1993 by Tony Gregory and it also failed to pass.

O’Sullivan has tweeted following the result of the vote, pondering is modern Ireland not ready to ban hare coursing.

Debating the issue in the Dail last week, O’Sullivan said that there is no doubt that it is cruel and it is animal abuse.

“I am struck by a number of contradictions. We live in a country of great natural beauty and yet we treat animals like hares appallingly.

“The contradiction and irony, which I have mentioned already, is that we have the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht issuing licences to capture and net hares.

“How is it part of the artistic and cultural agenda of the country to net hares, keep them in captivity for several weeks before releasing them into a field to be chased and hunted by the greyhound?” she asked.

Speaking in the Dail earlier this month, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed highlighted that a very high proportion of hares netted for hare coursing were returned successfully to the wild.

“For example, at the end of the 2014-15 season, 99.3% of hares captured were released in a healthy condition back after coursing.

“We have moved some distance in respect of where coursing was some years ago in terms of the monitoring and high standards of welfare we apply in terms of both the greyhound and the hare, something to which all parties involved can be paid tribute, including Bord na gCon, the Irish Coursing Club, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and my Department.”

For that reason, the Minister said that Ireland has now reached a situation where it has a sustainable industry and he did not propose to ban the industry.