Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


The cruelty of blood sports

Blood sports is a term used to describe the sport or entertainment that involves violence against animals.  The term can refer to chase sports such as coursing or beagling, combat sports such as cockfighting, or other activities like baiting.  Modern hunting is also referred to as a blood sport, but is controversial.  Changes in the usage of the term illustrate the depth of the linguistic and social complexities of social evolution. 

Thou shouldst rather be moved to pity to see a silly innocent hare murdered of a dog, the weak of the stronger, the fearful of the fierce, the innocent of the cruel and unmerciful.  Therefore, all this exercise of hunting is a thing unworthy to be used of free men. Thomas More, Utopia

Some blood activities:

Badger-baiting Bear-baiting Betta-fighting Bull-baiting Bullfighting
Cockfighting Cock throwing Cricket fighting Dog fighting Fox hunting
Fox tossing Hare coursing Hog dogging Hyena-baiting Insect fighting
Octopus wrestling Rabbit hunting Rat baiting Spider fighting Wolf hunting

ICABS urges ban on horrific ferreting (Irish Council Against Blood Sports)

25 July 2008

ICABS has renewed its call for ferreting to be banned after a newspaper article highlighted the appalling cruelty of the activity. A profile of a ferreting enthusiast published in a midlands newspaper told of how ferrets are used to blind rabbits by biting into their eyes.

ICABS has called on the Department of Agriculture to act urgently to end the horrendous practice. Ferreting involves sending a ferret down a burrow to trap rabbits. The rabbits are either chased out of the hole and into nets or viciously gripped in place by the ferret while a hunter digs away the earth from above them.

The following is a ferreter's first-hand description of the activity published in the Westmeath Topic of March 13th, 2008.

"On a typical day I'd get up at six in the morning while it's still dark. People contact me, often lads with greyhounds. These lads would be looking for rabbits...I bring my nets, cages, and of course my ferret finder. It's a collar you put on the ferret before he's sent underground. It beeps like a metal detector, so you know where he is...It's handier, because he 'pooches' the rabbit ('It's a certain kind of cul-de-sac where the rabbit goes up into to hide, where the ferret tries to tear at him to make him move). If he doesn't move the rabbit you have to use a barn spade (which is called a ferreting bar) to dig him out...You have two different types of hunting ferret; you have the 'eye' ferret and you have the 'brain' ferret. An eye ferret in a hole only goes for the rabbit's eye - he blinds him. The 'brain' ferret, he'll bite straight onto the head between the ears."

"Like I said, most of the rabbits go into the nets. The fellas who called me out would often take them off me. They sometimes use them for teasing the greyhound in a thing called a 'rolling cage' which is a small round cage they put the rabbit in to tease the dog before a race."

It is highly questionable that greyhound men suddenly have mercy on the traumatised, and probably injured, rabbit and release it back to the wild. It is much more likely that the rabbit is let out of the cage and used a live lure for the greyhounds.

This highly illegal act of "blooding" is thought to be commonplace in the industry. Unscrupulous owners and breeders believe that letting greyhounds tear a rabbit asunder will keep them keen for running on the track or up a coursing field.

Greyhound scene commentator, John Martin, is on record as saying that "greyhound racing would not continue to exist without blooding [and] it follows that, with a constant greyhound population of close on 30,000, blooding must be widespread."

Writing in the Irish Independent of January 12th, 1994, Mr Martin added: "Do not expect an admission of that from Bord na gCon, (Irish Greyhound Board) the country's semi-state greyhound racing authority. To concede the point would be to accept that they are the custodians of a sport whose very existence is based on blooding."

In our appeal to the Department of Agriculture, ICABS stressed both the cruelty of ferreting and its links to the illegal act of blooding.

"We believe that the new animal welfare legislation should take into account that this activity is ongoing, and the banning of ferreting, which of itself is a cruel activity, would assist in tackling this ongoing cruelty. Furthermore, given that this industry is enshrined in legislation (Greyhound Industry Act) and grant-aided by the taxpayer, we believe it should be scrutinised in depth in terms of the welfare of greyhounds as there are ongoing cruel practices and indeed illegal practices engaged in by greyhound owners and trainers with regard to the use of drugs and indeed the treatment of greyhounds past their racing best."

July 23, 2009 ACTION ALERT www.banbloodsports.com 

Please ask Minister John Gormley (Green Party) to stop licensing coursing. Email "STOP LICENSING CRUEL HARE COURSING" to minister@environ.ie

August 1, 2009 

From: Carmina Gooch, President
Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC
To: Mr. John Gormley, (Green Party)
Minister for the Environment
Cc: Green Party Officials
Re: Stop Cruel Hare Coursing 

Dear Mr. Gormley: 

I, like so many others in Ireland and around the world, vehemently oppose cruelty to animals, and after viewing several videos on live hare coursing, strongly urge you NOT TO grant licensing to coursing clubs.  Scotland, England, Wales, and many other countries have banned this violent and barbaric bloodsport, an activity that has no place in civilized society.  Successive independent opinion polls since the 1960's have shown increasing awareness to animal welfare matters and strong opposition to any and every "sport" that abuses and exploits animals.  Deliberately forcing thousands of terrified and vulnerable hares from their natural habitat into nets, and then into captivity and training sessions before being chased by greyhounds or other sighthounds is horrific. Many suffer excruciating injuries, broken bones or an agonizing death. 

There's simply no excuse for live hare coursing in the 21st Century.  In 1516, Thomas More wrote in Utopia, "Thou shouldst rather be moved with pity to se a silly innocent hare murdered of a dog, the weak of the stronger, the fearful of the fierce, the innocent of the cruel and unmerciful.  Therefore, all this excuse of hunting is a thing unworthy to be used of free men."  

Please act on behalf of the hares and grant them the protection they so desperately need, now.  It's simply the right thing to do. 


March 29, 2011 Major hotel sponsoring live hare coursing and hosting big promotional event.  The Rabbit Advocacy Group was one of many who contacted Hotel Minella after learning it will be hosting a big awards night on April 2nd that promotes the cruel blood activity of live hare coursing. Additionally, Hotel Minella Oaks features as an integral part of the three-day national hare coursing “festival” in Clonmel. While the Manor House Hotels are affiliated with Minella, the response to us stated that each hotel operates independently, and as such each property has its own policy regarding items such as coursing. Decisions are not considered at a group level. One would think that businesses nowadays would concern themselves with their image so as not to affect their bottom line. The tourism industry, like all others is dependent on public perception, and nowadays animal welfare is on peoples’ minds.  

Related: Call to protect Irish hare from threat of foreign invader

March 31, 2011 The Irish Times reports that an international group of scientists has joined a call for action to protect the native Irish hare which is said to be under extreme threat from imported European “brown” hares.

Ireland’s foremost authority on the hare, Dr Neil Reid of Queen’s University Belfast, said the European or “English” hare was introduced to the North in the early 1800s by coursing interests. It poses a major threat to the Irish hare, especially in mid-Ulster and west Tyrone.

He further added that the Irish hare represents an evolutionary unique lineage, which is restricted to Ireland where it has been present since before the last glacial maximum, making it one of our few native mammal species.

John Fitzgerald: Bad Hare Days

January 20, 2012 Royal's sadistic pastime; updates; stop the cruelty

February 16, 2013 Hunters and their beagles pursue Central Pennsylvania rabbits in annual hunt by the Harrisburg Beagle Club

Comment: We contacted Markus Shneck at Penn Live as well as Jim Kiser, President of the Harrisburg Beagle Club. We pointed out that this activity is cruel with many people categorizing it as murder, and that perhaps next year the hunters could become the hunted. Mr Schneck responded by saying: Actually, I believe murder is illegal, while hunting and hunters are not only legal but also pay the bills for most of the wildlife conservation and wildlife management in the state. That warranted another response from us. Mr. Kiser did not respond. Additional remarks were posted to the article via Facebook.

February 23, 2014 Windsor 'wildlife massacre': 7,000 animals killed in just ONE year on the royal estate

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