Irish Hares under threat from diseases that could wipe out the species

8 Sep

hares at risk from diseases copy

Irish Hares are under threat from diseases that could wipe out the species. The government must withdraw licences for hare coursing, a cruel activity which is known to increase the risk of disease spread – Read John Fitzgerald’s Letter to the Editor in Dublin People…

Hares under threat
Letter to the Editor, Dublin People Sept 8th, 2021

Dear Editor,

For the past two years Irish hares have succumbed to the deadly RHD2 virus and a number of coursing events were cancelled as a result because the disease can be spread by coursing activities, especially via the use of nets to capture hares.

Now, another disease looms that could further undermine the conservation status of the Irish Hare and even lead to its complete disappearance from this island.

A new form of myxomatosis has surfaced in Britain which has “crossed over” from rabbits and poses a huge threat to the UK’s hare population.

This variation of the disease has already killed thousands of hares in Spain, Portugal and the UK. Dead Hares have been found in many parts of Britain displaying lesions consistent with those observed in myxomatosis.

Give the apparent ease with which RHD2 reached our shores, it is reasonable to expect that this latest disease will arrive in Ireland too, if it isn’t here already. Added to the already lethal RHD2, it could result in the loss of our iconic Irish Hare and that would represent an ecological catastrophe.

These developments strengthen the case for a ban on hare coursing. It now stands condemned on both conservationist and animal welfare grounds. Its continued legality is a scandal that should be a source of embarrassment to any government, let alone one that prides itself on its eco-awareness and commitment to “green solutions.”

The licence authorising the capture of hares for the next coursing season should be suspended and all hares in captivity released back into the wild.

The future of the Irish Hare, a sub-species of the Mountain Hare that is unique to Ireland, must take precedence over the interests of a few “sportspeople” whose sole concern and objective is to set up these animals as live bait for dogs.

Thanking you,

John Fitzgerald,
Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel Sports


Urge Heritage Minister Darragh O’Brien and Minister of State Malcolm Noonan to REVOKE the coursing licences and give Irish Hares the proper protection they deserve.

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

Malcolm Noonan TD (Green Party, Carlow Kilkenny)
Minister of State for Heritage
Tel: (01) 618 3148 OR (01) 618 3156

With a RED C opinion poll confirming that a 77 per cent majority of citizens want hare coursing banned (with just 9% 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)1-640 3133
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Contact Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Green Party, Sinn Fein and Labour Party TDs and urge them to pledge support for the Animal Health & Welfare (Ban on Hare Coursing) Bill 2020.

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Please sign and share the petitions

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland

Sinn Fein: Support a ban on cruel hare coursing

Ireland – Ban cruel hare coursing

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