Saturday 23 September 2017

If it's the risk of a hare's death that makes coursing a spectacle, how can it be a sport?

The semi-final of the 2012 National Hare Coursing Championship
The semi-final of the 2012 National Hare Coursing Championship
Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin

It is outlawed in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales - but in Ireland, people pack flasks and sandwiches and turn up to watch live hare coursing as entertainment.

Wild hares are netted by coursing clubs and held in pens for up to six weeks before a coursing fixture. Then, for the crowd's enjoyment and with the bookies offering odds, the hares are forced to run from greyhounds in fear of their lives.

Some hares - not many but some - die as a result. Coursing is regulated, the greyhounds are muzzled and vets are present, but death and injury are part of this so-called sport.

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