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Horrific footage shows hare coursing in Republic is impossible to regulate and must be banned outright

Published 03/11/2016

Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor
Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

Dramatic and damning new video footage proves that hare coursing - banned in Northern Ireland but still legal in the Republic - continues to be a despicably cruel practice.

This despite assurances from Irish Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys that the "sport" is well-regulated and that hares come to no harm due to muzzling of greyhounds and stringent monitoring of fixtures.

Animal welfare campaigners have in the past few days bravely defied the strict ban on "unauthorised photography" that coursing clubs impose at all fixtures.

On Saturday last at Ballinagar, Co Offaly, Irish Council Against Blood Sports (ICABS) members filmed a hare being horribly mauled.

The unfortunate creature was chased, hit and sent tumbling head over heels before its body was pinned to the ground.

The hare repeatedly tried to get free from the greyhounds but was held in place and sustained a prolonged battering.

This latest mauling comes just days after a similar incident was filmed at Loughrea coursing in Co Galway. A hare was pinned and mauled before its battered body was slowly carried off the field.

In rejecting TD Maureen O'Sullivan's Bill to abolish hare coursing in June, Minister Humphreys, on the government's behalf, pleaded that there was no need for a ban because hares used in coursing were well-treated.

The new footage tells a different story. It shows that regulating hare coursing is impossible and only an outright ban will end this abuse of our iconic and treasured Irish hare, a mammal that survived the last Ice Age only to serve as the butt of a joke that calls itself a "sport".

JOHN FITZGERALD

Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports

God created us all equal and different

It was, surely, fortuitous that Gail Walker (Comment, November 1) reminded readers that "... sometimes it isn't a case of black and white; sometimes, it isn't either/or; sometimes, it is both; sometimes, it is even 'none of the above'".

For, on the opposite page, Brian Kennaway stridently insisted "male and female are not equal, but different" and used his interpretation of "the word of God", in conjunction with that rationale, to argue against same-sex marriage.

All humans are born equal and, equally, all are born different. The Bible relates that God made Eve (female) from the rib of Adam (male) and so Eve had the exact same DNA as Adam, albeit with a few tweaks to the phenotype - ie the external manifestation of the genotype.

It can be constructively argued that what Brian argues are man and woman may be better described as "(wo)man", given that each individual inherits their genotype from their parents; one strand of DNA from their mother (female) and the other from their father (male) and, so, each individual is a combined male-female construct.

This illustration is particularly apposite, given that sections of X and Y chromosomes can be transposed, or transferred, to the other.

"(Wo)man" is a useful description, given that at first the embryo, or foetus, is thought to be bisexual and their gonads can develop into either testes or ovaries.

At least two factors come into play to determine the development of the foetus; primary, or secondary, sexual development.

In the former, the SRY gene of a Y chromosome is thought to convert the embryo into a "male".

Secondary sex determination is controlled by genes such as the Tfn receptor for testosterone hormone located on the X chromosome, found in males and females.

Testes are responsible for producing testosterone and their development is determined by the Y chromosome and, in the absence of the latter, an individual will be female with internal testes instead of ovaries.

Add to this mix Freemartins, XX or XXX and XXXX males, XY and XYY females, Klinefelter's syndrome (XXY), Turner's syndrome (XO), hermaphrodites and mosaics (to name but a few).

A general rule of thumb might be that, if God saw fit to create such wonderful variations, then who are we to be prescriptive and say there can only be two variants and no more?

There's a sound Christian observation that actions speak louder than words.

BERNARD J MULHOLLAND

Belfast

Clever Trump targets forgotten Americans

Donald Trump appeals to the people in America who feel forgotten, overwhelmed by market forces and let down by their institutions.

It happened before, when Andrew Jackson was elected as the seventh US president in 1828, riding on a swell of popular scorn for the Virginian gentlemen and New England intellectuals of the old Republican ascendancy.

Jackson was famous for his military prowess - and his indifference to the rule of law, as practised in the US at that time. The fact he was a very wealthy man, farming 1,000 acres and growing cotton using 150 slaves, did not deter the hillbillies and the rest of the underprivileged followers claiming him as one of their own.

When elected, he stayed for two terms - from 1829 to 1837 - and supported his vice-president to become the next president.

Watching Donald Trump's rise, it may be happening once again. A rich man with a talent for channelling the resentment of working-class whites towards a government that they feel ignores them is promising to up-end convention and speak for "forgotten Americans".

As Trump has taken to saying at campaign appearances: "I will be your voice."

Let's wait and see.

HUGH DUFFY

By email

The Donald can't win? Just remember Brexit

THE worldwide media says the Donald can't win. The voters will not let them down, they confidently believe. Hmm... This was the same cosy consensus which said Brexit did not have a hope in hell of being carried.

Oh, ye of little faith. Has it not become clear yet that Hillary Clinton had her shot in government - and it was a disaster?

ROBERT SULLIVAN

By email

Does IRFU ruling also apply to directors?

IRFU performance director David Nucifora is keen to "move on" from the enforced departure of Ulster's Ruan Pienaar at the end of the season.

Does the same rule apply to performance directors?

THE 16TH MAN

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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