With dozens of animal baiting fixtures to be held over Christmas, a stark reminder of just how anomalous and out of date our animal cruelty laws are has been provided by the conviction of four men earlier this month for hare coursing in Cambridgeshire, England.
In addition to fining the culprits, Huntington Magistrates’ Court ordered that two of their vehicles be crushed.
By contrast, here in Ireland hare coursing is permitted by law and supported by some leading politicians.
Following weeks of unnatural captivity, the timid and inoffensive hares can be mauled or otherwise injured as the dogs pin them down or toss them about on the coursing field.
A special provision exempting hare coursing from prohibition was inserted into the Animal Health and Welfare Act at the behest of the powerful pro hare baiting lobby. This legislative anomaly utterly disgraces Ireland in the estimation of decent people worldwide.
The Gardai, unlike their UK police counterparts or the PSNI up North, can only look on or direct traffic as this organized, State-backed animal cruelty unfolds.
Hundreds of hares will be forced to run for their lives over Christmas, with snugly dressed fans gathering on frosty or rain-saturated fields to watch the iconic creatures, their eyes bulging from sheer terror as they dodge and swerve to evade the salivating dogs.
Sadly, it may be some time before our politicians find the courage to outlaw this obscenity. While hare coursers’ cars get crushed across the water, quite a few well connected people in the Republic appear to have, shall we say, a crush on this form of animal cruelty.
· Here is footage of hare coursing in Ireland:
· And here’s how the same blood sport is dealt with in Britain and a few miles up the road in Northern Ireland.
er Footage of the official car crushing operation carried out by court order. It took place on Friday, December 12th at 10am at Burton's Car Disposal, Cockbrook Lane, Old Weston.
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