Hare carried away by greyhound at cruel coursing meet in Thurles

28 Mar

Thurles hare picked up twice by greyhound Nov 2019 copy


A hare was pinned to the ground and carried away in the mouth of a greyhound at a coursing meeting in Tipperary, newly released documents reveal.

Details of the sickening incident are detailed in documents published on the National Parks and Wildlife Service website. They show that at a 2-day coursing meet in Thurles in November, a greyhound caught and pinned a hare to the ground before picking up the animal when its muzzle came undone.

“The hare was subsequently pinned and picked up by the unmuzzled dog,” a National Parks ranger stated in his report. “The dog carried the hare a short distance and put it down. The hare ran a short distance and was picked up again.”

He went on to say that while coursers “restrained the dogs”, the hare “was let go by the dog [and] ran off and entered the escape”.

The ranger stated that it wasn’t until the following day that this hare was identified.

Despite the fact that the hare had suffered “some fur loss on it’s [sic] back” and had been hit, pinned to the ground and caught in the mouth of a dog twice, the assessment was that “it appeared in good health”. The animal was “released with all the hares after the conclusion of coursing”. It is not clear if the hare was examined by a vet or received any treatment.

A total of 34 hares were captured from the wild for the shameful Thurles event.

On Day 1, the coursers claimed that just 1 hare was pinned to the ground by greyhounds and examined by a vet for injuries. This was contradicted by the ranger’s report in which he noted that 2 hares were pinned to the ground and 2 hares were “tipped” by the dogs. The following day, another hare was hit. A week before, during the so-called coursing trials, a hare was pinned by a greyhound and examined by a vet for injuries.

Elsewhere, earlier that month, a NPWS ranger who monitored a coursing meeting in Liscannor in County Clare saw a hare who “appeared unwell” and wasn’t coursed. “It stopped moving on the coursing field and a steward carried it to the enclosure,” she reported. According to the coursers’ veterinary report, no hares were examined for injuries. In her report, the ranger also noted that one hare was “found dead of unknown causes a week after being released [after coursing]”.

This hare may have been a victim of the stress-related condition known as Capture Myopathy which can claim lives in the days, weeks and months after coursing.

The Thurles and Liscannor coursing meetings, and others around the country, were allowed to go ahead, thanks to a licence recklessly issued by Culture and Heritage Minister, Josepha Madigan. She granted the licence despite the presence in Ireland of the deadly and highly contagious RHD2 virus which she herself acknowledged “has the potential to wipe out the hare population completely”. Her National Parks and Wildlife Service department warned that RHD2 could prove “catastrophic” for the Irish Hare which is unique to Ireland.

Regardless, Minister Madigan later lifted a suspension of hare netting and allowed the coursers to go ahead and net thousands of hares for their shameful bloodsport.

At a meeting between Minister Madigan and pro-coursing Fine Gael TDs in September, it was stated that “the presence of the RHD2 virus in Ireland could be catastrophic for the wild hare and rabbit population” and that at that point, “12 out of 13 wild rabbits and hare carcasses, from a range of counties across Ireland, that had been tested for RHD2 virus, have returned positive results.”

It is not currently known how many more hares or rabbits have died as a result of the RHD2 virus.

Find out about more victims of coursing in the latest documents published on the NPWS website https://www.npws.ie/licences/hare-coursing


With a RED C opinion poll confirming that a 77 per cent majority of Irish citizens want hare coursing banned (with just 9 per cent disagreeing with a ban), it is now time for politicians to consign this nasty bloodsport to history. Join us in contacting all the newly elected TDs and demanding that they act to ensure that a ban is urgently introduced. Visit the Oireachtas website for contact details for TDs https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/members/tds/?term=/ie/oireachtas/house/dail/33

Please contact political party leaders and urge them to ban hare coursing, fox hunting and all bloodsports in Ireland.

Leo Varadkar
Leader, Fine Gael
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01-619 4020
Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie; leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie; finegael@finegael.ie
Tweet to: http://www.twitter.com/@LeoVaradkar
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Micheál Martin
Leader, Fianna Fail
Constituency Office
137 Evergreen Road,
Turner’s Cross, Cork
Email: micheal.martin@oireachtas.ie
Phone: 021-432 0088
Leinster House: 01–618 3000
Leave a comment on Facebook:
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@MichealMartinTD

Mary Lou McDonald TD
Leader, Sinn Fein
Tel: (01) 727 7102
Email: marylou.mcdonald@oireachtas.ie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaryLouMcDonald
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MaryLouMcDonaldTD

Eamon Ryan
Leader, Green Party
Tel: 01 618 3894
Email: eamon.ryan@oireachtas.ie
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EamonRyanGP/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EamonRyan

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