Alliance Leader David Ford last night voted on an amendment to extend full protection to the Irish Hare. The amendment was tabled by his Alliance Party colleagues Stephen Farry, Anna Lo and Trevor Lunn to put the Irish Hare alongside “animals which are protected at all times”. David Ford originally set the ball rolling on a previous ban, through the amendment he tabled to the Game Preservation Act within the Assembly in 2002.
David Ford commented, “Researchers at Queen’s University state that the Irish Hare has been undergoing local population declines year after year. The Assembly has taken steps to protect the Hare but I strongly believe that full protection is needed to achieve any success.
“Quite frankly I am disappointed to see that a number of South Antrim MLAs, including Danny Kinahan and Mitchel McLaughlin, voted against the amendment. Hare hunting in any form has little support amongst the rural community, with over 70% supporting greater legal protection.
“The Alliance amendment would have implemented a safe, cost-effective measure that would clearly state the importance of the Irish Hare as a species of conservation concern. Sadly the Assembly did not want this to happen.”