Time to grant animals a Yuletide amnesty from hunting
'Tis the season to be jolly, but not for the creatures of field and forest. They must endure the merciless assault on Ireland's wildlife heritage that sadly accompanies the countdown to Christmas.
Since the beginning of this month, hares have been forced to perform at coursing events in the most atrocious weather conditions. Fans of the blood sport laughed, cheered, or marked their cards as the gentle creatures were hounded in torrential rain, on water-logged fields or across venues swept by storm-force winds.
As if being set up as live bait for hyped-up dogs to be chased (and possibly mauled or severely injured) wasn't challenging enough for this iconic creature that is hailed by nature lovers as a living link with the Ice Age.