Target: Enda Kenny, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland
Goal: Help protect drastically declining hare populations by ending the cruel sport of hare coursing.
Hare coursing is a blood sport in which greyhounds or other types of sight hounds are used to chase and kill hares. Hare coursing is currently banned in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. However, it continues to be a popular sport throughout Ireland. The sport is not only cruel, but it is currently thought to be the main cause for the Irish hare’s drastic decrease in population.
Ireland’s Parliament is preparing to vote on a new bill that will ban hare coursing. Supporting the bill will mean that the seriously threatened Irish hare population may have a chance to recover. Data collected between 2004 and 2010 show that the Irish hare population has been decreasing at a rate of about 25% every three years. Hunting and coursing are thought to be major causes of the species’ drastic decline.
An estimated 7,000 – 10,000 wild hares are captured each year for use for enclosed coursing events. In these enclosed areas, hares have no chance to escape from the dogs pursuing them. The hares are caught with nets, and held in captivity for sometimes as long as eight weeks before they are released into an enclosed paddock with two muzzled dogs. The event goes on until the hare makes it to a small enclosed area that the dogs cannot get into, or until the hare is injured or killed. Although the dogs involved in this sport are muzzled, the hare mortality rate is still high. Some hares are killed by injuries received by the dogs, while others die from stress related illnesses caused by their time in captivity. It’s not uncommon for pregnant and nursing hares to be captured for coursing, leaving their young behind to starve.
Please ask the Irish Prime Minister to support the upcoming bill which will ban hare coursing in Ireland. There are no good reasons to continue such a cruel sport, especially when the survival of a native species is at risk.
Dear Enda Kenny,
Please support the upcoming bill that, if voted for, would ban hare coursing in Ireland. Hare coursing is not only cruel, but it is severely threatening the survival of the native Irish hare.
Recent long-term studies have shown a decrease of 25% every three years in the Irish hare population. This is thought to be due mostly to hunting and capture for coursing. Approximately 7,000 to 10,000 hares are caught per year for use in enclosed coursing events. In enclosed areas, the hares have no way of truly escaping from the dogs pursuing them. Despite the fact that the dogs used are kept muzzled, the hare mortality rate is very high. Some of these animals die from injuries they receive from the dogs, while many others suffer from stress-induced illness caused by their extended time in captivity. Even pregnant or nursing mothers are not spared from these cruelties, and their young are left behind to starve to death. In this day and age, there are no good reasons why such a cruel sport should be continued, especially when the survival of a native species is at risk.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Mike Rendle