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Animal Welfare

More than 1,200 hares captured for coursing released back into the wild

The hares had been held for future coursing meetings.

OVER 1,200 HARES that were previously captured for hare coursing have been released back into the wild by clubs affiliated to the Irish Coursing Club (ICC).

The hares had been held for future coursing meetings, which are currently suspended due to Level 5 restrictions.

Their release follows a request by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, who had concerns about the welfare of the hares because they would be kept in captivity for the duration of the restrictions.

The department has been in communication with the ICC in recent weeks seeking to secure the release of the hares.

Minister Daragh O’Brien welcomed the release of the hares, and dismissed claims that releasing them would result in them being hunted illegally by others.

“Hares are a protected species, and are better off being in the wild rather than being held in captivity in large groups,” he said.

“I see no reason why they should have been held for the duration that coursing was suspended.”

O’Brien said claims on social media that the National Park and Wildlife Service would publish the release locations of hares were false.

“That is absolutely not the case and such claims are misleading and designed solely to serve an agenda supporting the retention of the hares in continuing captivity,” he added.

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