In renewing a licence for hare coursing, Minister Heather Humphreys in the Republic and the National Parks and Wildlife Service have condemned thousands of hares to a season of suffering.
Their disgraceful decision to facilitate such cruelty means coursing clubs are again free to go into the countryside to net hares and use them as live bait for greyhounds.
This so-called sport is attended by many people from Northern Ireland.
All these hares will suffer the fear and stress of being violently snatched from their habitats. They will be heard crying out as they become helplessly entangled in nets and crammed into boxes.
After months in captivity, the creatures will be forced to run for their lives in front of pairs of dogs. Hares hit and mauled on the coursing fields will sustain painful injuries, such as broken bones and dislocated hips. Some will die on the spot, while others will later be euthanised due to their injuries.
It is to Ireland's great shame that hare coursing continues.
The lack of empathy and refusal to stop a bloodsport that is illegal in all our neighbouring jurisdictions, reinforces Ireland's growing reputation as an animal cruelty blackspot.
Irish Council Against Blood Sports