WATCH: Footage of 'captive' hares in Offaly sparks coursing debate

The video was taken in Edenderry

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has once again called for hare coursing to be outlawed after capturing footage of hares at a coursing club in Co. Offaly.

The venue on the Dublin Road in Edenderry is playing host this weekend to a hare coursing meeting, but ICABS has taken issue with the event.

Hare coursing is legal in Ireland, operating under a licence from the Minister of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, issued annually with a total of 22 conditions attached. Hare coursing involves muzzled greyhounds chasing a live hare in an attempt to be the first to turn it.

However, animal rights activists have long taken issue with the sport, insisting that the hares used in the sport are injured, mauled and killed during events.

A couple of such activists filmed the above video in Edenderry of the hares in a field ahead of a three-day competition this weekend. 

"The hare coursing season is underway and again we are pressing politicians here to ban this blood sport completely," a statement read this afternoon.

The Irish Coursing Club, which overseas 89 coursing clubs throughout Ireland says: "Coursing is all about the hare, 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."

"It is this concern for hare conservation that makes the sport so indispensable and unique. Without the efforts of our sport, the hare population would be without the significant layer of protection it presently enjoys from the hare husbandry initiatives afforded by coursing clubs on a 12 month basis."

"The Irish Coursing Club has been, and will continue to be, deeply immersed in the conservation of the Irish Hare population, always seeking new ways to improve conservation in the face of loss of habitat due to the “advances” of our modern world and in spite of grossly uninformed efforts to ban it when no proven alternative conservation programmes are in place," they insist. 

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