Boost for campaign against cruel hare coursing in Ireland!
A major “coursing trials” event due to be organized by the high profile Kilflynn Coursing Club in County Kerry, on Saturday (September 23rd) was cancelled after a tip-off anti blood sports campaign groups
Coursing trials are organized prior to official hare coursing fixtures to test performance of greyhounds. Lives hares are used as at the public coursing fixtures. The coursing season commences before the end of this month and the annual coursing meeting at Kilflynn, Co. Kerry is scheduled to be among first fixtures of the new season.
A few days ago, anti blood sports campaigners were tipped off by a source within the disgraced greyhound industry that Kilflynn Coursing Club planned to hold 130 trials on Saturday…but using only 64 hares. This meant that the hares would have to be coursed more than once on the same day…something that is strictly prohibited under the rules of the Irish Coursing Club (ICC) itself.
While animal protection groups in Ireland oppose hare coursing and want it banned outright, we were especially concerned in this instance that even the flimsy protection afforded to hares under ICC rules would be flouted if the Kilflynn trials event went ahead as planned.
Being coursed several times would be tantamount to a kind of Russian Roulette scenario for the hares; each course (a chase involving two greyhounds) increasing the risk of injury or death for the unfortunate creatures.
Acting on the information, we immediately contacted the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), notifying it of the situation in Kilflynn and urging intervention to either halt the Kilflynn coursing trials or, at the very least, to send NPWS monitors to observe the event and report on any breaches of the Wildlife Act. Re-coursing of hares on the same day would amount to such a violation, apart from breaching the internal ICC rules.
We also contacted several TDs, asking them to also lobby the NPWS on the issue, which they did.
In response to these representations, senior NPWS officials traveled to County Kerry on Saturday to investigate the Kilflynn coursing trials situation. The NPWS comes under the auspices of the Department of Arts, Culture, Heritage and the Galetacht.
Arising out of that visit, the Kilflynn coursing trials were cancelled. The event had begun, but after less than half of the captive hares were coursed it was halted.
According to our informant, the NPWS officials arrived at the Kilflynn coursing venue on Saturday September 23, at approximately 8am to monitor the club’s activities. They instructed Kilflynn Coursing Club to call off the trials at about 11.30.
We are delighted with this result, and will be keeping an eye on other coursing trials planned for elsewhere in the country.
We believe the NPWS must now also force the cancellation of the high profile three-day Kilflynn hare coursing event due to be held on 29th, 30th September and October 1st…our argument being that, on the evidence of its recent experience, the club is unlikely to have adequate numbers of captives to avoid re-coursing of hares at the upcoming fixture.
The increasing failure of coursing clubs in recent years to catch enough hares for fixtures or trials is, we believe, due to a scarcity of hares in many parts of Ireland: Another reason, apart from the well documented cruelty of this blood sport, why hare coursing should be banned.
Fair play to the informant who blew the whistle on Kilflynnn Coursing Club. More whistle blowers are needed to expose the dark underbelly of Ireland’s cruel and corrupt greyhound industry in general and hare coursing in particular.