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Ireland: Stop the Barbaric Practice of Hare Coursing

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An age-old "sport" tortures and even kills this protected species. The practice needs to be outlawed!

Urge the An Taoiseach and Tánaiste to ban the cruel act of hare coursing and lend protection to hares — no exceptions!

Hare coursing is a cruel and inhumane "sport" in which hares are released onto an field and must, quite literally, run for their lives from dogs, typically trained greyhounds, who chase after them. Best case scenario, the hares are tortured by extreme stress; worst case scenario, dogs or diseases kill them.

This is bad enough, but it is made even worse considering that Irish mountain hares are considered a protected species [1]. Even so, enclosed coursing, in which the dogs are muzzled, continues to remain legal in Ireland.

This barbaric form of "entertainment" has been banned from all but three countries in Europe: the Republic of Ireland, Spain, and Portugal. And rightfully so, considering what it entails.

Hares are captured and kept in captivity together. This is not only immensely stressful for hares, which are solitary creatures, but it also encourages the spread of diseases.

After the hares are "trained" to know the course, the cruel sport commences.

Hares get a head start on the field, and then the dogs are set after them, chasing them down. Even when dogs are muzzled, they are still capable of injuring and even killing the hares. And even if the hares manage to escape the course unscathed, they still will have gone through an immensely traumatic experience. Any way you look at it, the practice is utterly cruel and inhumane.

Most people agree. Polls conducted have consistently indicated that the majority of Irish citizens believe that the "sport" should be banned [2]. Yet it remains legal.

But even for those who enjoy hare coursing and participate in it, there is a humane alternative that could be used to keep hares safe and people happy. It's called drag coursing, and it uses a mechanical lure as opposed to a living, breathing animal. [3] It's been successfully adopted by several other countries that have outlawed hare coursing.

With drag coursing as an alternative and with the vast majority of people against the cruel practice of hare coursing, there is no reason why hare coursing should be allowed to continue. We need to work to end this inhumane practice altogether.


[1] Tuesday, J. 0., & Finlay, F. (2016, July 04). Barbaric hare coursing is not a blood sport, it's a blood industry. Retrieved October 06, 2017, from http://www.irishexaminer.com/viewpoints/columnists/fergus-finlay/barbaric-hare-coursing-is-not-a-blood-sport-its-a-blood-industry-408476.html

[2] (n.d.). Retrieved October 06, 2017, from http://www.banbloodsports.com/leaf-coursing.htm

[3] (n.d.). Retrieved October 06, 2017, from http://www.banbloodsports.com/camp-hc.htm

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The Petition:

To the An Taoiseach and Tánaiste,

Ireland is a beautiful country filled with rich culture and wonderful people. However, it is marred by the continued practice of a cruel and inhumane activity, one which has been banned in most other European countries: hare coursing.

Hare coursing is a barbaric sport in which hares, a protected species, are tortured with fear for their lives and sometimes even killed for the entertainment of participants. Such a cruel practice has no place in a civilized country like Ireland, even if it is tradition. Humanity's sense of ethics have evolved, and we must ensure that laws reflect that change.

We therefore implore you to join with the vast majority of Europe, as well as appease the vast majority of Irish citizens, and ban the practice of hare coursing in favor of more humane alternatives like drag coursing. The mountain hare deserves full protection without any exceptions, and it cannot have this kind of full protection while coursing continues.

Thank you for your consideration.


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