ALLIANCE Party Leader David Ford MLA has welcomed a ruling by the High Court upholding restrictions on Irish hare coursing in Northern Ireland.
Mr Ford introduced an amendment in the Assembly in 2001, which ensured that Irish hares would have greater protection from coursing. The temporary ban on Irish hare coursing was renewed by the Minister with a Special Protection Order last December.
Mr Ford stated:
“I welcome the court decision, which completely vindicates the move the Environment Minister, Angela Smith, made to give the Irish hare extended protection. This followed my own proposals to increase protection, which were granted by the last Assembly.
“It is clear that the overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland want an end to coursing on cruelty grounds, as well as game preservation grounds. The sooner all hunting of mammals using dogs comes to an end, the better.
“I am now writing to the Environment Minister to call for an outright ban on hare coursing, and would urge her to take further action to ban other cruel forms of hunting.
“I do not believe that blood sports such as stag hunting can be justified I this day and age, and as more and more people agree, I look forward to the day when they are a thing of the past.”