North West Hunt Saboteurs

Hare Coursing and How to Stop It

Organised hare coursing is followed by a few thousand people in Britain today. More coursing is done outside official clubs and a courser can operate within a club one day and outside it the next. The hare coursing season runs from September through to March. The highlight of the coursing year is the Waterloo Cup, held at Altcar, where hundreds of hares may be coursed. 

Hare Cousing and How to Stop It Leaflet - front The aim of hare coursing is for two dogs (usually greyhounds) to compete with each other in a test of speed and agility in pursuit of a live hare. There are three types of coursing: 1) Static coursing where hares are driven onto a particular field to be coursed 2) Rough or 'walk-up' coursing where a line of coursers and supporters walk across country flushing out hares as they go, and 3) Park or enclosed coursing in which hares are caught and held captive before the event and released into an enclosed arena to be coursed. 

The last form only takes place officially in Northern Ireland and Eire. In all forms of coursing the two dogs competing are held back by a man called the 'slipper', who waits until the sighted hare has approximately an 80-yard start, before releasing both dogs. The dogs used for coursing are faster than the hare, which then has to rely on twisting and turning to avoid capture. Points are awarded for how the individual dogs cope with this 'turning', by a judge on horseback. 

Coursing supporters admit that one in five hares are caught by the dogs, although the real estimate is probably much higher, depending on conditions. Caught hares often become the subject of a living tug of war between the dogs, lasting many minutes before supporters can retrieve it and finally put the terrified animal out of its misery. 

AND HOW TO STOP IT...

The best way to prevent any hares being killed at a coursing meet is to ensure that there no hares in the vicinity of the coursing field. 

Hunt saboteurs do this by employing the tactic of pre-beating ('beating' refers to beating the ground to panicHare Cousing and How to Stop It Leaflet - back animals into fleeing in a certain direction). Large numbers of sabs wearing bright clothing and waving bright flags or fertiliser bags, walk in a straight line driving hares downwind, outward and away from the coursing fields. Whistles and horns are also blown to encourage the hare to run in front of the saboteurs and away from the coursers. As hares do not like to be on unfamiliar ground, sabs may have to remain in strategic positions to prevent the hares returning to the coursing field. 

It is not difficult to sabotage a coursing meeting - the tactics used can be taught in a morning, and if you can walk, make noise and work with people as a team, you can sabotage a coursing meet and save the lives of many hares. Please Note: Don't try this on your own as hare-coursers have a well earned reputation for violence against sabs. 

The best way to prevent any hares being killed at a coursing meet is to ensure that there no hares in the vicinity of the coursing field. 

Hunt saboteurs do this by employing the tactic of pre-beating. Large numbers of sabs wearing bright clothing and waving bright flags or fertiliser bags, walk in a straight line driving hares downwind, outward and away from the coursing fields . Whistles and horns are also blown to encourage the hare to run in front of the saboteurs and away from the coursers. As hares do not like to be on unfamiliar ground, sabs may have to remain in strategic positions to prevent the hares returning to the coursing field.

It is not difficult to sabotage a coursing meeting - the tactics used can be taught in a morning, and if you can walk, make noise and work with people as a team, you can sabotage a coursing meet and save the lives of
many hares.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST HARE COURSING

Many of the arguments that apply to hunting hares with packs of hounds also apply to hare coursing [see the HSA's Hare Hunting leaflet]; namely that numbers of brown hares are in serious decline in Britain. Farming chemicals and machinery have caused great problems for hares since unlike rabbits, hares live and breed above ground, making them vulnerable to disturbance. Many fall victim to food supplies contaminated by pesticides. Despite dwindling numbers of hares, coursing continues. Hares were denied Protected Species status by the European Commission after arguments from the European Federation of Hunters Association

Live hare coursing cannot be regarded as culling; only strong hares are coursed not young or weak ones.

Illegal coursing has increased dramatically and protesting farmers have been threatened with violence. Much of this illegal coursing takes place at night under the light of high powered lamps. 'Lampers' will set their dogs onto any animals that they sight in the lamps beam. Even badgers have been known to fall victim to lampers and their dogs.

If a greyhound catches a hare, it will grab at any part of the animal. Once it has a hold the dog will not drop the hare and may run off with it. Both hounds may grasp the hare and the much disputed but well documented tug-of-war will ensue. The hare suffers internal injuries and the scream of an injured or distressed hare resembles that of a human Infant. Coursers would have us believe that a caught hare Is always dispatched by a picker-up within three seconds, but this is by no means the case. In a well-documented instance in 1975, a hare was screaming in the jaws of the hound for over two minutes before having its neck broken by a picker up.

At same coursing clubs their are no official 'pickers-up' to take the hares off the dogs and kill it quickly by breaking its neck. The job is left to the nearest supporter who may have little or no experience at killing animals quickly and efficiently.

Leaflets


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