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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 January 2006, 06:21 GMT
English hunt dogs at Irish race
Hare coursing
Hare coursing was banned after the Waterloo Cup in February, 2005
Greyhounds no longer able to participate in hare coursing in England due to a ban have been invited to an event in the Republic of Ireland.

The organisers of the Seamus Hughes International have invited dogs which would have taken part in England's main hare coursing event - the Waterloo Cup.

Hare coursing was banned last year as part of the anti-hunting legislation.

The League Against Cruel Sports has criticised the Irish event, saying it amounts to "blood sports tourism".

I think that's a great shame for a civilised country to be the last bastion for a blood sport
Douglas Batchelor
League Against Cruel Sports

It said the greyhounds from England are simply moving across the Irish Sea to participate in the Seamus Hughes International event in County Kilkenny instead.

The charity's chief executive, Douglas Batchelor, said: "Now we see a sort of blood sports tourism moving to southern Ireland, to the Republic.

"I think that's a great shame for a civilised country to be the last bastion for a blood sport."

In the event, highly trained greyhounds are tested for speed and agility as they chase a brown hare across a field.

However, the Country Alliance said the Irish event was not the Waterloo Cup in disguise as the two events are very different.

Liz Mort from the Alliance said the England "open coursing" event was in the hares' natural habitat, the dogs were not muzzled and it was in open ground.

In Ireland it is done in a more enclosed space and the dogs are muzzled, she said.

Arrests as coursing event starts
14 Feb 05 |  Merseyside

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