Images have recently surfaced showing the grotesque scene of a line of nine dead hares placed on the side of a country road. It has been claimed that the dead animals were put there as an act of defiance to locals who had been attempting to crack down on illegal hare coursing activities.

In a report seen by The Mirror, the following points were made;

·        One police force had 1,000 reports of illegal chases in three months. Nationwide there were at least 10,000 in 2020.

·        A farmer who challenged coursers was shot at in his Land Rover.

·        Trenche sare being dug around farmland in a bid to keep coursing gangs off.

·        Lurchers and salukis are cross-bred to produce powerful killing machines.

·        Career crooks, many involved in huge drug plots, are driving the sick “sport”.

Recently Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard MP has stated how rural wildlife crime is becoming an increasingly bigger with hare coursing events here in Britain apparently being “webcast live to betting syndicates in China”. The claims follow Labour’s rural policy review which was launched in early April.

Luke Pollard has claimed that many gangs involved in rural crime are even telling locals that they do not fear being caught or prosecuted due to overstretched police resources which has increasingly led to all sorts of rural crime going unpunished.

WHAT IS HARE HUNTING?

Hare hunting involves the pursuing of hares by a pack of harriers, beagles, or bassets with followers either on foot or on horseback. The Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles lists 71 current hare hunts that are still operating.

Similar to the fox hunting season, hare hunting takes place between late August until March. However, whilst fox hunting takes place all over the country, hare hunting tends to be limited to certain areas and this is because hares stay within their territory.

Hares spend the entirety of their lives above ground and so during the chase they do not seek safety underground like foxes do. This means they tend to stick to the area that they know and run in loops whilst being pursued by the hounds.

Hare hunts can often last up to an hour with hares desperately doing everything they can to escape. Ultimately the hare being hunted will give up from exhaustion and be caught by the faster hounds before it is ripped to pieces.

Image: Colin Vanner

WHAT IS HARE COURSING?

Hare coursing is the pursuit of hares with grey hounds as opposed to the harriers, beagles or bassets involved in hare hunting. Hare coursing was made illegal in 2004 under the Hunting Act however it still continues illegally across many counties.

Some of the main areas where it takes place are Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk and criminal gangs often film the events for later betting use. In hare coursing there are usually two hounds chasing the hare and bets are placed on which of the two dogs will be able to kill the hare quicker.

This often results in a tug of war between the two dogs over the hare and this unsurprisingly causes immense pain and suffering to the terrified animal being ripped to pieces.

Rob Pownall

Founder of Keep The Ban