NPWS spending €135,000 to study behaviour of hares terrorised in bloodsport it licenses

13 Oct

The National Parks and Wildlife Service – the body which shamefully issues hare coursing licences every year – is to spend €135,000 on a study to examine “the survival and behaviour of hares that are released back into the wild after being used for coursing”.

According to a report in the Irish Independent, the study will be carried out “with the co-operation of the Irish Coursing Club” – the association which receives the licences allowing its clubs to capture thousands of hares from the wild and use them as live bait for dogs to chase. 

The NPWS study aims to look at what happens to hares who survive the licensed cruelty, i.e. after they have been forcefully netted from the wild, manhandled by coursers, put into boxes and transported to coursing compounds, held together in unnatural captivity for weeks or months and eventually forced to run for their lives from pairs of greyhounds – all so that coursers can gamble on which dog causes the hares to change direction first.

The announced study comes just weeks after Paul Murphy TD’s Animal Health & Welfare (Ban on Hare Coursing) Bill 2020 passed first stage in Dail Eireann. If it gets through a lottery system, it could be back before the Dail in the coming months.

The Irish Independent report states that the NPWS research “is likely to inform the government’s position in relation to the proposed ­legislation”.

The government’s position should already be informed by the fact that a 77% majority of Irish citizens want hare coursing banned (with just 9 per cent against a ban) and the reality that the continuation of coursing in 2020 is damaging Ireland’s international image.

The government should be informed by a decision last year by Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland who recognised the impact animal cruelty has on visitor numbers. The tourism bodies stopped promoting greyhound racing over fears that its inherent abuse and killing is repelling potential tourists. They have long since removed references to hare coursing and foxhunting from their marketing materials.

There is already ample evidence in shocking video footage captured by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports and in the National Parks and Wildlife Service’s own monitoring reports to unequivocally confirm the cruelty of coursing and the negative impact it has on hares. 

What is needed now is not another costly study but a long overdue ban on coursing. Join us in urging the government to act to bring coursing to an end and allow the cherished Irish Hare to finally live free from persecution.

Read the full Irish Independent report at

Witness the cruelty of hare coursing in Ireland


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




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 TDs and urging them to act to ensure that a ban is urgently introduced. Visit the Oireachtas website for contact details for TDs

Urge Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tanaiste Leo Varadkar to respect the wishes of the majority and ban hare coursing and all bloodsports.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin


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



Tanaiste Leo Varadkar

Telephone: +353 (0)1-704 3630 OR +353 (0)1-640 3133


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Contact Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Sinn Fein and Labour Party TDs and urge them to back a ban on cruel hare coursing.

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