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Hare today and gone tomorrow

Sir -- I write in response to the article "Let the hare sit, and survive", appearing in your paper on July 11. As CEO of the Irish Coursing Club, I wish to offer some additional insights into the activity of coursing which is repeatedly misrepresented.

The author of the article begins with the announcement of a Northern Ireland decision to ban coursing.

I was present at Stormont for that debate, and can see there are four very important facts which are absent from the article: 1) this proposed amendment, though voted on, is not yet a "done deal"; 2) the amendment was surreptitiously (though quite legally) submitted just minutes before the deadline for amendment submissions effectively avoiding counter amendments; 3) the decision was made in spite of evidence from Government-funded research which details the very real conservation threat to the Irish hare in areas where organised coursing does not exist; and 4) no alternative suggestions were made for the conservation of the Irish hare, a decision based on emotion rather than facts.

The author's appeal to readers through the use of romanticised quotes is misleading, as those quotes are from a time when there were not wildlife rangers present at meetings, when there were not 22 conditions attached to the licence and regulations established by the Government and written with the welfare of the hare in mind, including returning all captured hares to the wild once they have been coursed.

The author also fails to recognise the vital role organised coursing clubs have in hare conservation, which practise hare husbandry year round, leaving extra food for the hare in unusually bitter weather conditions and helping protect them from predators and poachers.

DJ Histon, CEO,

Irish Coursing Club, Clonmel

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