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Last Updated: Monday February 14 2005 15:47 GMT

Arrests after hare coursing clash

There have been arrests at a major hair coursing event
Several people have been arrested as hare coursing event The Waterloo Cup got underway in Merseyside.

Mounted police had to stop coursing fans from getting to people protesting against the hunting.

The event sees pairs of greyhounds race across a course chasing a hare in a test of their speed and agility.

A ban on hunting means the event will be against the law in 2006, so the Waterloo Cup is happening earlier than usual this year to avoid the ban.

The coursing fans threw things like firecrackers and even a dead hare at some of the 200 anti-hunt protestors at the event.

Police had to get between groups of protestors
Police had to get between groups of protestors
At least two pro-hunting spectators were led away in handcuffs by police.

The organisers of the event, which has been running since 1836, say that the idea of the Waterloo Cup is to test the hounds, not kill hares.

But some people think hare coursing is cruel because if the greyhounds catch the hare they kill it very violently.

A spokesman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare said the Waterloo Cup was a "horrific event".

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