Whiddy Island’s Dirty Little Coursing Secret

25 Aug

whiddy islands dirty little secret

Whiddy Island’s Dirty Little Secret
Letter to the Editor, Irish Examiner, 24 August 2018

It’s one of Ireland’s pretty offshore islands but Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay hides an ugly secret.

Every year, it allows coursers to round up defenceless hares and remove them to the mainland for use as live lures for greyhounds to chase at cruel coursing events.

Recent National Parks and Wildlife Service documents seen by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports reveal that hares are taken from Whiddy Island by at least two coursing clubs.

For example, 26 hares were netted on the island last November for the Bandon and Carey’s Cross coursing meeting. There, hares were caught by greyhounds and pinned to the ground. Two of them were injured and required veterinary treatment.

Coursers claim that 26 hares were later returned to Whiddy Island but with no wildlife ranger present, it cannot be confirmed. Regardless, hares released back to the wild after the ordeal of being captured, kept in captivity, manhandled and forced to run for their lives are at risk of subsequently dying from stress-related capture myopathy. Hares hit and mauled suffer painful injuries, including broken bones and dislocated hips.

In December, more hares were sadly taken from Whiddy Island for coursing in Clonakilty.

What a shame that even on an island that lists nature watching as a tourist attraction, the Irish Hare is not safe from persecution.

Philip Kiernan 
Irish Council Against Blood Sports 
PO Box 88, Mullingar, County Westmeath



With warnings from wildlife experts that the Irish Hare is in trouble, it is now more clear than ever that the species must be given full protection. Urgently contact Minister Josepha Madigan and the National Parks and Wildlife Service and demand that they revoke the 2018-19 hare coursing licence and end all forms of hare persecution.

Minister Josepha Madigan
Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht
Phone: +353 (0)1 631 3800
Email: josepha.madigan@oireachtas.ie, ministers.office@ahg.gov.ie, wildlifelicence@ahg.gov.ie, john.fitzgerald@ahg.gov.ie, Gerry.Leckey@ahg.gov.ie, nature.conservation@ahg.gov.ie
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://facebook.com/JosephaMadiganFG
Tweet to: @josephamadigan

John Fitzgerald
Director, National Parks and Wildlife Service
Phone: +353 (0)1 888 3242
Email: john.fitzgerald@ahg.gov.ie


See the cruelty of hare coursing on our Youtube channel

(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, feel free to send the short sample letter below)

Dear Minister,

I am one of the majority who want hare coursing outlawed. I am writing to demand that you revoke the 2018-19 hare netting licence that has shamefully been issued.

In coursing, hares suffer and die at all stages – during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity and during the coursing meetings where they run for their lives in front of greyhounds. Among the injuries recorded are broken legs, damaged toes and dislocated hips.

I ask you to please act on the wishes of the majority, show compassion and end this cruelty.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


The Irish Hare is a protected species but an exemption for coursing in the Animal Health and Welfare Act means coursers are not liable for prosecution for their cruelty. Join us in our call to the government to remove the exemption and provide full and permanent protection to this cherished species.

Contact An Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar and ask him to ban hare coursing and give permanent protection to hares.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo Tweet to @campaignforLeo
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/campaignforleo/

Express your support for a ban on coursing. Sign and share the petitions

Ireland: Ban cruel hare coursing

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