Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Ban on coursing will threaten hares' survival

The Northern Ireland Assembly has amended the law to ban hare-coursing.

It is now an offence for anyone to take part in any aspect of a hare-coursing event.

Par for the course - just like the ban on hunting foxes introduced by messrs Blair and Co. Nothing has changed. One could drive a horse and cart through the legality of this new law.

The crux of this appears to rest with the word 'event'. Now, if Joe Bloggs decided to go hare-coursing on his own, then he is not breaking the law.

That being the case, this useless law will only endanger the hare more, rather than protect it.

Horse-racing is a good example. Many people would also like to see it banned, but it has controllers who continually improve safety for both animals and jockeys, thus ensuring that the global spectacle of horse-racing, enjoyed by millions, is guaranteed to continue.

Without doubt, the greatest threat to the decline of the hare - along with so many other living creatures now close to extinction (ground-nesting birds being only one example) - is not coursing, but a change to increasing mechanisation in farming. Nothing is sacred to the combine harvester. Surely the best people to protect any species on this planet are those whose interests lie with the species that needs protection.

We need more hare-coursing events - not a ban on them. Once that is done, the survival of the hare will be guaranteed.

HARRY STEPHENSON

Kircubbin, Co Down

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