What a storm John Fitzgerald's rather predicable letter has started. First we had James Phelan defending country sports, only to be followed by a stinging reply from Maurice Carty who stoutly defended animal rights. For all that, he was quite prepared to "kill an animal with his bare hands" merely so he could have a good meal.
While he might feel morally justified in taking the unfortunate animal's life in such a barbaric fashion I'm sure the affected animal would consider the justification very poor.
Were the animal to be asked, I have no doubt he would opt to be hunted where in all probability he would escape with little more than good exercise rather than the certainty of being killed by Mr Carty's bare hands.
Hares used for coursing and stags hunted by the Ward Union are examined by veterinary experts appointed by the Department of Agriculture before and after use and no evidence has been found to suggest excessive stress.
In follow-up studies on released hares post coursing, they have been shown to enjoy better health and longevity than an equivalent peer group. Happily, the hare population has shown a considerable increase this year, which is in no small way due to the conservation efforts of local coursing clubs