Former PM unlikely supporter of animal rights

The legacy of Margaret Thatcher will be hotly contested and I was never a fan of hers.

But I have always admired her courage and human decency in crossing the floor of the House of Commons to vote, on two occasions (in 1969 and 1975) for Labour Bills proposing a ban on live hare coursing.

For all her ferocious reputation, the Iron Lady, like the majority of people in Britain and Ireland, couldn’t stomach the spectacle of two hyped-up dogs being set on a defenceless, terrified hare for “sport”.

I am delighted that she lived to see that abomination outlawed in Britain.

Interestingly, three Labour TDs who had lost their party whip took a similarly brave stance in the Dáil a fortnight ago during the debate on the Animal Health and Welfare Bill. Deputies Patrick Nulty, Roisin Shortall, and Tommy Broughan voted against the Government and in favour of an anti-hare coursing amendment.

While I wouldn’t endorse Mrs Thatcher’s right wing policies or handling of the Northern Troubles, I honour her commitment to protecting the gentlest creature in the countryside.

I hope that more Irish politicians will follow her example, and that of the above named Labour rebels, in seeking an end to hare coursing.

John Fitzgerald

Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports


Co Kilkenny

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