The Green Party has called on Minister Josepha Madigan to reverse her decision to lift the suspension on the annual licence which allows the netting of hares for coursing.
The ban has been in place since the discovery of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD2) in a wild hare in August.
Speaking today, Green Party Spokesperson on Agriculture Cllr Pippa Hackett stated:
“Minister Madigan has an abysmal record on wildlife protection, and this decision is a total abuse of power and a reckless act of wildlife vandalism. She is pandering to a minority group of people and amoral backbenchers that support this cruel activity, and it’s risking the increased spread of this fatal disease.
“Hares are a protected species under the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, yet an archaic form of entertainment still permits them to be captured from the wild, transported away from their natural habitats, kept in compounds, and chased down by dogs.
“RHD2 has been recorded in nine counties and affects both hares and rabbits. It is a highly contagious, fatal disease, which can be transmitted directly through urine, faeces and respiratory secretions, and indirectly via clothing or the nets and equipment used to transport hares. The virus itself is extremely tough and can survive for many months in the environment.
“To lift the suspension at a time when we are unsure of the extent of the virus is totally irresponsible and poses a significant risk to the Irish hare population. It has also pre-judged the outcome of the field studies proposed by the Minister last week.
“We hope that that the Minister will see sense, and make the right decision for this protected Irish mammal.”
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