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We must do more to protect treasured hare

The kidnapping of a top Irish greyhound with a stud value of a million euro was a shocking criminal act, and hopefully the police will apprehend those responsible as quickly as possible.

But I can't help thinking about the contrast between the priority this animal will receive and the sad fate of our gentle Irish hare, a mammal that survived the last Ice Age only to be subjected to organised cruelty for 'sport'.

Thousands of hares are kidnapped every year - snatched in broad daylight from their habitats by coursing clubs to serve as live bait for greyhounds.

Many of them are mauled, forcibly struck or tossed about by the dogs.

Some of them die of broken bones that can't heal.

Others expire after a coursing event as a result of stress-related ailments.

A greyhound can fetch big prices and make fortunes for owners, trainers and gamblers.

What value should we place on the iconic Irish hare, part of our treasured wildlife heritage that politicians are willing to throw to the dogs?

JOHN FITZGERALD

Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports

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