In 2004, hare coursing was outlawed in England, so what are coursing dog owners to do? Some of them are taking their dogs to Ireland where coursing is still legal.
Half of the 32 places at Ireland’s Seamus Hughes International coursing tournament in Sevenhouse, Co Kilkenny, are reserved for British dogs and the National Coursing Club is advertising the event on its website according to The Times Online.
And, of course, where there are British coursing dogs there are inevitably British animal rights protesters.
Activists are also making the trip, with Fight Against Animal Cruelty In Europe’s Tony Moore one of a number of British animal rights activist who will make the trip to Ireland to make their view on coursing known.
Moore told the Times Online,
Whlie there is a natural link between the countries because of the strong Irish connection to coursing in England, this seems wrong. Ireland doesn’t need the problems that these hunting people bring. I don’t think the farmers over there want them either.
The Times Online also quoted Aideen Yourrell of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports who is organizing a protest against the competition,
This is very worrying. We have heard that more than 300 people are traveling to attend the event. This is like a consolation prize for them losing the Waterloo Cup (a British coursing event held since 1836), but English coursers coming over here puts extra pressure on our hare population. Coursing has been suspended in Northern Ireland already because studies there have shown a shortage of hares.
According to Kilkenny Today, however, “greyhounds in Ireland which compete in coursing meetings are muzzled to protect the hares.”
War against hare coursing crosses the water to Ireland. Mark Tighe, The Sunday Times, January 1, 2006.
Stand-off looms at Sevenhouses. Kilkenny Today, January 4, 2006.