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26th May 2023

Bill to ban hare coursing in Ireland brought before the Dáil

Fiona Frawley

hare coursing ireland

The “cruel” sport is already banned in Northern Ireland, the UK, most of Europe and Australia.

A Bill to ban hare coursing across Ireland was introduced at Dáil Éireann yesterday.

The sport involves greyhounds being set after live hares who have usually been captured from the wild, leaving some maimed or dead despite their ‘protected’ status.

Social Democrat TD Jennifer Whitmore wants to end coursing in Ireland – a move supported by 77% respondents of a 2019 RED C poll.

Addressing the Dáil, TD Whitmore said:

“I find it bizarre, frustrating and unbelievable that this practice is still allowed.. and is still facilitated by Government when the majority of other countries have banned it because they recognise how awful and unacceptable it is. No civilised society should ever treat another animal in this way”.

Jennifer added that the timing of the bill was important as it’s Biodiversity week, and the hare is a protected species native to Ireland.

Hare Coursing at Limerick Racecourse in February 23, 2013. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)


“The Wildlife Act has deemed it protected species and not many species in Ireland have that status. We have badger, bat, deer, hare, hedgehog, otter, pine marten and red squirrel.

“However, the same legislation that deems the hare protected because of its importance environmentally and culturally in Ireland, allows the Minister to sign off on licenses for the capture and holding of these hares for the purposes of live hare coursing. I regard that as a direct conflict within the legislation. If a species is protected it should be protected and should not be subject to that level of stress and torment”, TD Whitmore continued.

She concluded that hare coursing was “unacceptable” in the current biodiversity crisis  and “should never be facilitated by any government”.

Header image via Getty


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