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I welcome entertainment manager, Louis Walsh’s appeal to the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creedon, to ban the exploitation of wild animals in circuses. The animals are forced to engage in humiliating tricks and stunts, and are ill-treated when they fail to respond to training.
But if we ban wild-animal circuses, we must also be consistent, and outlaw hare-coursing, a far worse abuse of wild animals for entertainment. The hares are snatched from their natural environment, held in unnatural captivity for weeks, and then forced to run from pairs of hyped-up dogs.
Though muzzled, the greyhound can strike the hares at high speed, inflicting painful injuries. They can also maul the terrified creatures and break their bones, resulting in the hares having to be ‘dispatched’ by coursing officials.
The Minister, when he comes to consider action against circuses, must also address this shameful misuse of our iconic Irish Hare, a mammal that survived the last Ice Age, only to find itself at the mercy of so-called ‘sportspeople’ who get their kicks from watching it ‘perform’ in the hail, rain, snow, and high winds of an Irish winter.
How can we claim to be concerned about the welfare of performing animals, if we allow this depraved relic of the Roman amphitheatre to continue?
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