Temporary ban on coursing Irish hare reinstated

A temporary ban on coursing the Irish hare will be reintroduced in Northern Ireland tomorrow. The Special Protection Order prevents the killing, taking, sale or purchase of the Irish hare, but only at certain times of the year.

We have welcomed the reinstatement but warned that it fails to go far enough to adequately protect the Irish hare. The species has suffered significant decline over the last 30 years. This is attributed to, in part, by illegal hare coursing and poaching.

The Department of the Environment (DOE) currently has the opportunity to upgrade the protection status of the Irish hare from temporary to full permanent protection under the review of the Wildlife (NI) Order 1985. By granting permanent protection the animal would have full protection of the law to prevent it from being killed or taken from its natural environment. The League believes permanent protection, a more robust piece of legislation which brings higher penalties, would act as a stronger deterrent to individuals who may think of committing this wildlife crime.

Northern Ireland campaigner, Mary Friel said: “The League is deeply concerned that the current ban on coursing the Irish hare is only applicable at certain times of the year. We would urge the Department of the Environment to show its commitment to preventing wildlife crime by adopting long term, sustainable legislation to fully protect the Irish hare from cruelty in the name of ‘sport’.

League supporters joined by Harriet the Hare, will be staging a demonstration outside Queens University, Belfast on Monday 30 December to raise awareness of the cruelty of hare coursing.

Hare coursing would become legal in England and Wales again if the Hunting Act was repealed. Join our campaign to Keep Cruelty History.

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