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Yes, the hare is a remarkable work of nature — leave it that way

With the hare coursing season in full swing, the Irish Coursing Cub (ICC) has stated on its official website that the Irish hare is “a remarkable work of nature which has thrived for thousands of years on our island, and will continue to flourish only with the assistance of coursing clubs.”

While agreeing with the first part of the statement, I marvel at the ICC’s audacity in claiming that coursing clubs benefit hares.

Do they really believe this? The clubs snatch these gentle creatures from their natural home in the countryside and confine them in holding pens for weeks before setting them up as bait for greyhounds.

Though the dogs are muzzled, they can and do inflict injuries on the hares. The hare is a brittle boned animal, and bone breakages cannot heal.

Even hares that appear to have escaped without obvious injury can die soon afterwards or following release back into the wild. Not to mention the ones that die while being netted or in captivity, from stress-related ailments.

The perverse and perpetually unrequited love bestowed upon this gentlest of creatures by the “sportspeople” continues to exact its toll in suffering and cruelty.

Or could it be that they are right and that anti-blood sports campaigners have been giving them a raw deal?

True, the Arctic Hare is managing quite well to survive and even thrive up there in a freezing hostile environment, to find food and stay a step ahead of predators like the snowy owl, the lynx and the fox.

But would they be happier if they could experience the unique tender loving care that only coursing clubs say they can provide?

Would life be more interesting for them if they could be captured with nets in the snow or along the ice carpeted hills and made to run from hyped-up dogs?

Who knows, maybe they’d appreciate the conservationist expertise of people who could arrange to have them mauled, pinned to the ground, forcibly struck by dogs at high speed, and tossed up into the air like rag dolls?

All these years the Arctic Hares have been getting along in blissful ignorance of a “sport” that the Irish Coursing Club is promoting as beneficial to our iconic Irish hare.

Do they know what they’re missing up there?

John Fitzgerald

Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel Sports

Callan

Co Kilkenny

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