Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Irish Hare Coursing Study Issued

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is pretty angry about a study issued by Queen's University College. The study was partially based on independent video footage collected at hare coursing events over the past 20 years.

A recent Queen`s University College study, saying that hare coursing presents no threat to the Irish hare population has been angrily rejected by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports.

The research team led by Dr Neil Reid of the school of biological sciences, said mortality during coursing removed less than 0.1 per cent of the total adult hare population annually.

The study, published in the journal Animal Welfare, showed that when the ICC introduced compulsory muzzling of greyhounds in 1993, mortality dropped from 16 per cent to 4 per cent.

"Further reductions in mortality since then may be attributed to improved care in captivity", the report added.

"The most recent estimates of the hare population in Ireland suggest that mortality during coursing removes less than 0.1 per cent of the total adult population annual" said Dr. Reid. "Therefore at its current level, mortality during coursing is likely to have negligible effect".

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports, Aideen Yourell said she was shocked at the findings of the study which she rejected out of hand. "How can you base a scientific study on video footage from an organisation which has forbidden photography at its meetings for many years.

For those of you who don't know what hare coursing is, here is a description from Wikipedia.

Most hare coursing is open coursing, that is, it takes place in the open (as opposed to Irish coursing which takes place in an enclosure with an escape route). There are two forms of open coursing. In driven coursing (such as the Waterloo Cup), hares were "driven" by beaters towards the coursing field. As they enter the field, a person known as a slipper releases two dogs at the same time, in pursuit of the hare, which is given a head start (known as 'fair law'), usually between 80 and 100 yards (70–90 metres). In walked-up coursing, a line of people walk through the countryside and a pair of Greyhounds are released when a hare is disturbed.

The object is to test pairs of dogs, not to kill the hare; and the greyhounds which pursue the hare will, being faster, start to catch up with it. Since the Greyhounds are much bigger than the hare, and much less agile, they find it hard to follow the hare's sharp turns, which it makes as the greyhounds threaten to reach it. This agility gives the hare an important and often crucial advantage as it seeks to escape.

Under National Coursing Club rules, the dogs are awarded points on how many times they can turn the hare, and how closely they follow the hare's 'course'. The contest between the Greyhounds is judged from horseback.

Photo by picturestation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To witness the cruelty of coursing in Ireland, please click on VIDEOS at Also available to view is a presentation showing drag coursing in action. This is the humane alternative in which the dogs follow an inanimate object dragged along the ground.

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