A PROTEST IS due to take place today outside Dáil Éireann against this weekend’s National Coursing Meeting in Clonmel.
The protest will involve members and supporters of several animal protection groups, including the Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports (CACS) and the Irish Council Against Blood Sports.
CACS said they are campaigning against the lack of a ban on live hare coursing in the Animal Health and Welfare Bill, which is currently proceeding through the Oireachtas. The protest will take place from 12.30-2pm today.
The National Coursing Meeting is a three-day event due to take place in Powerstown Park Racecourse in Clonmel, County Tipperary. The event attracts people from around the country to watch greyhounds chase live hares on a track. Coursing greyhounds have been muzzled since 1993, but CACS says that hares are still injured by the dogs during the coursing.
The campaign to abolish hare coursing began in the mid-1960s. This is the 88th National Coursing Meeting to take place.
CACS said it objects to hare coursing as “hares are snatched from their natural home in the countryside, held in unnatural captivity, and then used as live bait for the greyhounds to chase”.
Two TDs who have expressed their support for the protest are Independent Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan and United Left Alliance TD Clare Daly. They expressed concern that hare coursing is dangerous for hare and dog due to injuries, and “contributes to a negative cultural attitude towards animals and their wellbeing”.
Deputies O’Sullivan and Daly have said they intend to introduce a bill to ban hare coursing in Ireland.
The coursing meeting organisers anticipate a large crowd at the event. This is the first time the meeting is being held at the weekend, having traditionally been held at the beginning of the week.