Letter: Sinn Fein now officially condones one of the worst forms of animal cruelty

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A letter from John Fitzgerald:

Sinn Fein demonstrated a remarkable ability to ‘run with the hare and hunt with the hounds’ at its weekend Ard Fheis eight days ago.

Faced with motions calling for a ban on hare coursing, and rival ones expressing support for the practice, the party’s Ard.Chomhairle came up with a supposed compromise … that the party calls for ‘regulation’ of the sport.

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It may have escaped the attention of those who made this decision that coursing is already subjected to so-called regulations, but that these do nothing to prevent a hare from being snatched from its natural home in the countryside, confined for weeks in unnatural captivity, and then forced to run from two hyped-up dogs in a wired enclosure.

Regulation is cold comfort to a hare when a dog mauls it, pins it to the ground; or it gets flung into the air like a sliotar on a hurling pitch.

One cannot regulate animal torture, whether it’s the live baiting of hares, cock fighting, or dog fighting. One may as well try to address the crime situation by giving potential victims a longer start to escape their would-be assailants, or asking paramilitaries to attach longer fuses to their bombs.

I imagine Sinn Fein is being extra-careful right now, desperately seeking to avoid any serious political gaffes, or unnecessarily discommoding any part of the voting public, with the heady scent of power already wafting up its nose.

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But while giving the green light to hare coursing to continue might go down well in hillbilly territory, I hope that anyone who cares a whit for the welfare of animals, or about our imperilled wildlife heritage, will remember that this party now officially condones one of the worst forms of animal cruelty.

John Fitzgerald, Co Kilkenny

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