Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Actvists Protest Hare Coursing in Ireland

Hare coursing in Ireland is being protested by activists there.

Animal rights activists are planning a major protest in Co Tipperary today as the country's largest annual hare coursing event gets underway in Clonmel.

The Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports says the demonstration will mark the first time in 12 years that pickets have been placed on the meeting.

I'd never heard of hare coursing before this. From Wikipedia:

Modern hare coursing is practiced using a number of sighthounds: mainly Greyhounds but also Borzois,[3] Salukis, Whippets,[4] and Deerhounds[5] that were registered with a governing body (such as the National Coursing Club or Kennel Club in Great Britain, the Irish Coursing Club or currently NOFCA in the US). The objective of coursing is to test and judge the athletic ability of the dogs rather than to kill the hare.[6]

Most legal 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 uses a slip with two collars to release 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.[6]

The chased hare will then run at 40-45 km/h[7] The object of hare coursing 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.[6]

In Ireland, they have muzzled the dogs since 1993, but that hasn't kept hares from being killed.

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