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Opposition TDs propose laws to ban hare coursing

Clare Daly and Maureen O’Sullivan will introduce a Bill later this year to address animal cruelty in sports and other rights issues.

Image: James Horan/Photocall Ireland

Updated, 12.35

TWO TDS from the Technical Group have confirmed their intention to introduce new laws later this year which would conclusively ban hare coursing in Ireland.

Dublin Central independent Maureen O’Sullivan, and Socialist Party TD for Dublin North Clare Daly, are to propose legislation which they say will protect animals from cruelty in sports, as well as addressing other animal rights problems.

The commitment to issue the legislation comes after the TDs accused the government of failing to indicate whether hare coursing would be included in an Animal Health Bill coming later this year.

“We wish to address this directly in the Bill we are pushing, as we are concerned that hare coursing will once again be exempted along with other animal rights abuses,” the TDs said in a statement.

Hare coursing is the pursuit of hares with hounds who chase the hares based on sight (rather than scent). The sport is a competitive one for dogs, which are tested on their ability to outsprint each other.

The winning hound is the one which is able to come so close to the hare as to divert it from the line it was already taking to try and escape.

Though it is not strictly intended for the hare to be captured at the conclusion, animal rights campaigners say the sport can regularly end with injuries to the hares – and to the dogs chasing them.

“The mistreatment to hares extends to the techniques used to collect hares from the wild, training them to run in straight lines on the track, use of weak hares and through the practice of ‘blooding’ which although illegal, still continues today,” the TDs said.

The Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports has campaigned for the abolition of coursing or for it to be replaced with ‘drag coursing’, which involves a mechanical lure.

A permanent ban on the sport in Northern Ireland came into effect in August of last year.

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Gavan Reilly

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