Alliance Party Leader David Ford has welcomed news that hare coursing will be suspended in Northern Ireland for one year, but cautioned that policies on the protection of the species must focus on the whole conservation issue, not just coursing.
Speaking in Dublin, David Ford stated: “Any new protection for the Irish Hare is welcome, so the suspension of hare coursing may well be a step forward.
“However, the Government must work towards viewing the Irish Hare in the context of conservation rather than just hare coursing itself. Measures to protect the species may well go beyond merely the issue of blood sports.
“We are also dealing with competing evidence concerning the Irish Hare population, and we have to bear in mind that some evidence suggests coursing makes no difference to the overall population, and that in any case there is still nothing to stop hares being taken across the border and used for coursing.
“A much broader package of measures will be required to save the species.”