Sunday 18 February 2018

Reckless O'Doherty barking up wrong tree

As chief executive officer of the Irish Coursing Club, I take issue with Ian O'Doherty's article (Irish Independent, April 1).

His portrayal of coursing is misleading and misguided. Referring to "packs of dogs" that have "themselves been brutalised", he is unaware coursing consists of one pair of muzzled greyhounds. "Brutalised" greyhounds would not be capable of coursing. With regard to "hares being torn apart and screaming in pain", he offends our National Parks and Wildlife Service and attendant veterinary surgeons, who ensure that more than 22 regulations are in place to guarantee the welfare of the hare.

And like it or not, the conservation role played by coursing clubs is evidenced by Quercus, an independent research group in Queens University, Belfast. It reports that where coursing clubs exist, there are 18 times more hares than in the wider countryside.

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