Minister Gormley given evidence of breaches of the Wildlife act
With Minister for the Environment John Gormley expected to decide this week whether or not to grant a license permitting a new coursing season, Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel Sports (CACS) has today contacted all government ministers and members of Dail Eireann, enclosing details concerning a list of coursing events at which horrific cruelty to captive hares occurred and was observed by State apointed Wildlife Rangers.
This evidence of cruelty and/or breaches of the Wildlife Act was obtained only within the past week (after many requests) by an animal welfare group under the Freedom of Information Act. It relates to twenty-three coursing meets of the season that ended in February of this year.
The rangers employed by the Wildlife Service who attended the events in question were all professional, highly trained neutral observers whose reports carry considerable weight.
They saw hares being struck, mauled, and knocked about by greyhounds, hares dying in agony from injuries sustained, illegal re-coursing of hares, and other cruel abuses.
We challenge any member of Dail Eireann to review these reports, all of which can be verified by contacting the Wildlife Service, and then still deny that hare coursing amounts to a breathtaking act of barbarism.
Replacing the live hare in coursing with a mechanical lure could easily eliminate this cruelty. Drag coursing provides a viable and humane alternative, as it did in Australia when live coursing was banned in that country.
We hope that Minister Gormley will not yield to pressure from the powerful Fianna Fail pro-hare coursing lobby.
We know that a hard core of FF deputies are screaming for the special license authorising the nationwide netting of hares…They want coursing clubs to be given the green light to organise another season of what those rangers (quoted below) witnessed…another six month round of terror, torment, and agonising death...all for a cheap thrill and a flutter on the dogs.
Fianna Fail TDs from coursing blackspot counties are lobbying the Minister to grant the license, thus abandoning the official Green Party policy of seeking a total ban on hare coursing. The Greens' election manifesto contained an explicit commitment to such a ban.