COVID-19: Government must stop hare coursing and foxhunting

8 Oct

The government is being urged to act in the interests of slowing the spread of COVID-19 and stop all hare coursing and foxhunting.

Despite increasing infections and deaths and nationwide Level 3 restrictions, the bloodsports brigade are determined not to let a pandemic get in the way of their shameful activities.

Another season of cruel hare coursing is due to begin this weekend at Liscannor, County Clare where pairs of greyhounds will be released into an enclosed field to chase hares captured from the wild over the past few weeks. A notice on the Irish Coursing Club website reveals that up to two people will be allowed to attend with each greyhound – one to bring the dog to the release area at the bottom of the field and another at the other end to try and catch the dog after the hare has been terrorised.

In an appeal to Housing, Local Government and Heritage Minister Darragh O’Brien to withdraw the 2020-21 coursing licences he issued last month, ICABS pointed out that this means that well over a hundred individuals could be present – this at a time when Level 3 of Ireland’s Plan for Living with COVID-19 makes it clear that organised outdoor gatherings can only have “up to a maximum of 15 people”.

“In the interests of public safety and doing everything possible to slow the spread of COVID-19, it is imperative for you to withdraw the licence and immediately shut down all coursing,” we stated.

Meanwhile, after weeks of barbaric cub hunting (in which new foxhounds are brought to earths to catch and kill defenceless cubs), foxhunters are keen to get their main hunting season underway.

This would involve dozens of hunters travelling from around counties and congregating together in villages and townlands to unload horse boxes before beginning their day’s barbarity.

A report in the Irish Field last month, claimed that the obscene bloodsport, which a majority of Irish citizens want outlawed, is an “important part of country life” and that hunters are “looking forward to getting back on the hunting field”.

It farcically presented the activity, which involves unleashing a pack of dogs to chase down and rip foxes to bits, as “a symbol of normality in the countryside”.

The reality is that in 2020 Ireland, foxhunting is no longer acceptable and the vast majority of right-minded citizens view it as decidedly ABNORMAL to derive pleasure from watching terrified foxes desperately running for dear life before being caught, eviscerated and torn limb from limb. Foxes who try to find refuge underground in earths or drains are dug out and brutally killed. But not until after the hunters have released terriers down the holes to corner and attack them.

The government MUST NOT allow foxhunting to proceed. It would be entirely reckless and unforgivable to give a free pass to foxhunters. It would make a mockery of public health guidelines to allow packs of hunters in every corner of the country to gravitate to meeting points and set off together, moving through narrow village streets and country lanes, traversing multiple farmlands and risking spreading coronavirus amongst themselves and to those in the countryside they come into contact with.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and the Irish Government are being urged to act in the interests of public safety and ensure that ALL hare coursing and hunting activities are immediately stopped.

They have been reminded about RED C opinion polls conducted last year which show that 77 per cent of Irish citizens want hare coursing banned (just 9 per cent disagree with a ban) and 77 per cent want foxhunting banned (just 12 per cent disagree with a ban).


Contact Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and the Irish Government today and demand that hare coursing and hunting are stopped.

Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly
Tel: (01) 201 7300 or (01) 618 3041

Micheál Martin, Taoiseach
Phone: +353 (0)1–618 4350 or +353 (0)21-432 0088

Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste
Telephone: +353 (0)1-704 3630 OR +353 (0)1-640 3133
Tweet to: @LeoVaradkar

Contact Minister Darragh O’Brien and demand a withdrawal of the 2020-21 coursing licence.

Minister Darragh O’Brien (Fianna Fail, Dublin Fingal)
Tel: (01) 618 3802 OR (086) 251 9893

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