Controversy Follows Plans for British Dogs to Compete in Irish Coursing Contests

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.

Bardot Lends Support to Irish Hare Coursing Ban

French animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot recently sent a letter to the Irish Council Against Blood Sports supporting that group’s campaign to ban hare coursing in Ireland.

Hare coursing is the practice of releasing a hare and allowing two dogs, usually greyhounds, to chase it down. Along with the animals killed, activists also complain that even hares that survive are terrified and traumatized in the process.

Northern Ireland has temporarily halted hare coursing, but it is still legal in the Irish Republic and the government there has said it has no intention of changing the law to ban hare coursing.

Dick Roche, Environment Minister for the Irish Republic, was quoted by Ireland On-Line as saying,

There is no evidence that hare coursing in Ireland adversely impacts on the conservation of hare populations and there are no proposals to change existing arrangements for the licensed netting of wild hares for live hare coursing.

Which, of course, means that hare coursers in Northern Ireland can simply conduct their hare coursing in the Irish Republic, which doesn’t make the ICABS very happy.


Bardot lends support to hare coursing ban. Ireland On-Line, January 19, 2005.