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We work to expose and end
the cruelty inflicted on animals
in the name of sport

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WILDLIFE CRIMEWATCH LINE 01483 361 108

Northern Ireland and Cruel Sports

NI brown hare

The Overview: all powers on animal welfare which cover domestic, farmed and wild animals are devolved in their entirety to the Northern Ireland Assembly. Recently animal welfare has been high on the agenda at Stormont and has offered unique opportunities to improve legislation on a number of key issues including hare coursing, dog fighting and snaring.

After many years of campaigning by the League Against Cruel Sports, the Northern Ireland Assembly made the historic decision to ban hare coursing in June 2010 as part of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill. The hare coursing ban was enabled into law when the Bill became an Act in April 2011. This great victory for animal welfare stands testament to the hard work and dedication of the League's supporters who have campaigned for years to make this happen.

Also, forty years on from the last comprehensive review on welfare for domestic animals, the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011 is now in force. It includes the Five Freedoms, new powers in dealing with dog fighting and will also ban the docking of dogs’ tails. The League is disappointed however that the Act stops short of a complete ban and allows for an exemption for working dogs. Responsibility for enforcing the new Act falls under the remit of the Local Authorities Animal Welfare Officers, whilst the PSNI retain responsibility for enforcing the legislation on Dog Fighting, Wildlife Crime and Horses on the Highway.

Despite great efforts by the League, snares have not yet been banned in Northern Ireland. We will continue to campaign on snares in the coming years and urge you to get involved by signing petitions, contacting your MP/MLA and raising awareness in your local areas about these indiscriminate devices that cause so much unnecessary suffering to both domestic animals and wildlife.

For further information about the League's campaigning in Northern Ireland, please email: janicewatt@league.org.uk