Even though the hare is protected under EU law, almost 70,000 hares have been legally captured since 2009 for use in the coursing industry where they are chased by trained greyhounds before being released.
Animal rights groups argue wild hares are kept in poor conditions and can die at events through stress or from injuries inflicted when caught by greyhounds.
Our team will investigate the key animal welfare concerns raised, the scale of deaths and injuries as well as if the industry is respecting legal requirements in capturing, using and releasing hares.
WHAT YOUR FUNDING SUPPORTS
Calls have grown in recent years for coursing to be banned in Ireland - one of only three EU countries where it remains legal - due to concerns over the species’ welfare.
Since the 1990s there have been several failed attempts to ban hare coursing and the Green Party pushed unsuccessfully for a ban in the last Programme for Government. Using FOI, we want to examine the key lobbying powers pushing back against any ban.
To get a grasp of the scale of welfare concerns raised in recent years, we will send FOI requests to State authorities regulating the industry and examine how they monitor conditions in the industry.
We will also speak to veterinary and animal welfare experts about conditions for the hares in captivity and when released back into the wild.
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