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Sinn Fein aiming to block hare coursing ban

It is with shock and profound disappointment that the Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports has just learned that Sinn Fein is engaged in an attempt to prevent the ban on live hare coursing in Northern Ireland from coming into force this autumn.

The NI Assembly voted in June to ban the blood sport via an amendment to the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill.

In a letter from Sinn Fein Dail Deputy Martin Ferris, he claims that a bill is being drafted in the office of the Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew to prevent hare coursing from being banned.

If this is true, it is an outrageous and worrying development. Apart from the fact that hare coursing is an immensely cruel activity, we would ask if Sinn Fein is prepared to ignore the expressed wishes of the majority of people in NI who oppose the blood sport, and the decision of the Assembly that voted legally, and in accordance with that majority view, that hare coursing be banned.

We hope that parties that support the abolition of hare coursing will stand by the decision of the Assembly to protect the Irish hare from this practice.

Apart from the cruelty of hare coursing, the species needs protection now more than ever, with growing evidence that it is under threat from modern agricultural methods that erode its habitat.

Sinn Fein’s official view of hare coursing is all the more difficult to understand given that three of its four Dail Deputies and its one senator oppose the practice. Martin Ferris is the only member of the Sinn Fein Parliamentary party who supports the blood sport.

JOHN FITZGERALD

Kilkenny

Belfast Telegraph

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