Jennifer Whitmore TD

Bizarrely, the same law that protects hares also allows for their capture for coursing

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore will introduce a Bill today which, if supported, could result in an effective ban on hare coursing in Ireland.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on climate and biodiversity, said:

“Given the scale of the biodiversity crisis we are facing – and the unprecedented loss of animal species and plants – the role of any Government should be to protect the native wildlife that we have.

“Hares are very important from both an environmental and cultural perspective in Ireland. Significantly, their importance is recognised in primary legislation by defining them as a protected species under the Wildlife Act 1976.

“Bizarrely, in the same piece of legislation that is supposed to protect hares, the Minister for Heritage is permitted to issue licences for their capture for the purpose of live coursing.

“This makes no sense whatsoever. A protected species should be just that – protected.

“We are currently marking Biodiversity Week, so this is an appropriate time for me to introduce this piece of legislation. The purpose of my Bill is to remove the ability of the Minister to issue licences for the capture of hares for live coursing.

“If supported in the Dáil, it would effectively end this archaic and inherently cruel practice, which has no place in the modern Ireland of 2023.

“It is shocking to think that 6,000 hares are captured from the wild each year under Government licence and can be held in captivity for up to eight weeks. Coursing pits animal against animal and causes great distress – and sometimes injury or death – to the hares involved.

“I am calling on TDs from all parties and none to support my Bill today. Bringing an end to hare coursing would be a huge step forward for both animal welfare and biodiversity in Ireland.”

May 25, 2023

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