Leverets born in captivity in hare coursing compound: Renewed calls for ban

9 Nov


Pregnant hares who gave birth were among the hares held captive for cruel coursing in Glin, County Limerick, it has emerged.

According to a National Parks and Wildlife Service document obtained by ICABS under the Freedom of Information Act, five leverets were born in the “escape” area of the Glin coursing compound. The baby hares were spotted by wildlife rangers among the hares captured for a coursing meeting held at the beginning of last month.

The NPWS report says that the rangers were unable to identify the mothers of the leverets and so they “organised care for and release of the 5 leverets” – “Hares which were born in escape were held back for 2 weeks. Agreed by ranger. All to be released back to the wild, supervised by ranger.”

Pregnant hares giving birth at a bloodsport venue adds to concerns about the plight of hares used in this shameful activity.

According to the NPWS report, “It raises the issue of leverets being born to female hares in captivity in August. Our Section 34 licence timing changed approx 5 years ago to allow catching [hares] a month earlier and I would have concerns that this may have resulted in more leverets being born in captivity, with the consequent issues.”

There are not only fears for the welfare of leverets born in captivity but also those left orphaned in the wild when their mothers are cruelly netted for use in coursing. These vulnerable, dependent creatures are almost certainly doomed to die without their mothers.

There is some acknowledgement of this in the NPWS report which states: “It is possible that some females are now being caught in August, with their leverets left behind alone…As August is firmly part of the main hare breeding season, I recommend that the dates are changed back to September.”

It goes on to add that leverets were not only found in Glin this season but also “at an early Kerry club meeting”.

These are not the first times that leverets have been born in captivity. For example, it was noted by a National Parks ranger, who monitored a meeting in Tubbercurry in December 2016 that there were three pregnant hares in the coursing compound, one of which gave birth to two leverets. We brought this to the attention of Minister Heather Humphreys and pointed out that it is contrary to the flimsy licence conditions to take pregnant hares – however, there was apparently no sanction for that breach

The idea of a pregnant hare – or indeed any hare – in a coursing compound is truly appalling. These animals should all be in the wild where they belong, not in a bloodsport venue to be used as live bait for dogs in a grotesque and anachronistic activity.


Please join us today in renewing our appeal to Heather Humphreys, Leo Varadkar and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to withdraw the 2017-18 coursing licence and put in place permanent protection for hares.

Email “Stop the suffering – Withdraw the hare coursing licence NOW” to Heather.Humphreys@oireachtas.ie, ministers.office@ahg.gov.ie, taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, wildlifelicence@ahg.gov.ie, Gerry.Leckey@ahg.gov.ie, John.Fitzgerald@ahg.gov.ie

Phone Minister Humphreys: +353 (0)1 631 3802 or +353 (0)1 631 3800

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Tweet to: @HHumphreysFG @campaignforLeo


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