Proof that hare coursing in Ireland needs cover-up to survive...
Those of us who have campaigned for decades against the cruelty of live hare coursing have frequently argued that the organisers of coursing events appear to be terrified of adverse publicity.
There have been incidents over the years in which cameras have been confiscated at coursing events, and people filming them subjected to threats or physical assault.
However, following an assurance by a senior Irish Coursing Club (ICC) official in a recent TV interview that everyone was welcome at coursing events, one might have expected that it would be safe to film what the ICC considers a "a wholesome and traditional rural pastime."
Two animal protection campaigners attended the recent National Hare Coursing Festival (the All-Ireland Finals of the "sport") to video-record part of the event. They aimed to gather further evidence of animal cruelty of the kind witnessed at previous coursing fixtures such as dogs mauling the of hares, striking them with great force, or pummelling or pinning the animals to the ground.
When the two women commenced recording with a small camcorder, they were approached by a man who asked them to stop filming. When they challenged this request, they were ejected from the coursing venue and told they wouldn’t be getting their money back.
This incident, some of which was captured on film (the camcorder was still running when the women were being ejected) can be viewed on YouTube or the banbloodsports.com website.
It demonstrates very clearly that hare coursing is NOT a normal sporting activity. It is banned in many jurisdictions including Britain and Northern Ireland on animal welfare grounds.
Here in the Republic it continues to depend for its survival on censorship and cover-up.
If hare coursing, as the ICC claims, has "nothing to hide", then why this apparent aversion to animal lovers filming the action?
(* Here is the footage (just uploaded to YouTube) of ICC President Brian Divilly denying the two women the right to film an event that the ICC claims has “nothing to hide.”)