League appeals for public action against illegal hare coursing in Northern Ireland
Animal Welfare Charity, the League Against Cruel Sports, has issued an appeal for the public to report any instances of illegal hare coursing in Northern Ireland.
In June 2010, The Northern Ireland Assembly made the historic decision to outlaw hare coursing as part of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill. Despite this, illegal hare coursing is still widespread, claims the League Against Cruel Sports.
Hare coursing is a cruel and barbaric blood sport, where hares are snatched from the wild and released into an enclosed area where dogs are encouraged to chase, catch, and turn them for ‘sport’. Typically hare coursing includes a group of men walking in a line across a field with dogs including whippets, lurchers or greyhounds.
The League led the campaign for the ban on hare coursing in Northern Ireland and also fought off recent attempts to overturn the ban in February 2011, when a late amendment to the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill was tabled to reintroduce licensed hare coursing. This was voted down 53-33, and instead further amendments were passed to strengthen the hare coursing ban.
Despite the strengthened legislation, the League is warning that illegal hare coursing events are still taking place in Northern Ireland, particularly in the North West and the Glens of Antrim, but also elsewhere.
The League Against Cruel Sports’ Northern Ireland Senior Public Affairs Officer, Mark McCormick says: “The Assembly’s decision to ban hare coursing was a huge step forward in eradicating cruel blood sports in Northern Ireland. It is therefore hugely important that this legislation is fully enforced and any criminal flouting the ban is caught and prosecuted. For this to happen, we need the public to watch out for the tell tale signs of hare coursing and report any suspicious activity to the authorities.”
If you have any information about wildlife crime, please contact your local Police Service of Northern Ireland station on 0845 600 8000. Information can also be given - completely anonymously - to the League Against Cruel Sports, through our Wildlife Crimewatch number, 01483 361108.
Notes to Editors
• Section 38 of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill, which bans hare coursing, can be viewed online here - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nia/2011/15/section/38
• About the League Against Cruel Sports
The League Against Cruel Sports is a registered charity that brings together people who care about animals. Like the majority of the public, we believe that cruelty to animals in the name of sport has no place in modern society. Registered charity number 1095234. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk/.
• For further comment or queries please contact Mark McCormick, Senior Public Affairs Officer for Northern Ireland on 01483523775 or 07964432626. Alternatively please email firstname.lastname@example.org