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Guides: Hunting with dogs

Last Updated: Monday February 14 2005 17:43 GMT

What is hare coursing?

Hare coursing
In hare coursing two dogs compete with each other in a test of speed and agility. It is controversial because they do this by chasing after a live hare.

Although the hare escapes on most occasions, in some cases it is killed. Hare coursing will be covered by the ban on hunting with dogs which starts on 18 February 2005.

The dogs are held back by a man called the 'slipper'. He waits until the hare has about a 70 metre head-start and then lets the dogs go.

The dogs are quicker than the hares, so the hares twist and turn to avoid getting caught. At a coursing event a judge awards points for how well a dog deals with the hare's twists and turns.

The hare coursing season runs from September through to March. The highlight of the coursing year is the Waterloo Cup.

What opponents say about it

People against hare coursing say it is full of unnecessary cruelty and killing. They argue that every year, coursing subjects thousands of hares to stress, injury and death.

Politician Ken Livingstone said this about coursing: "I am not in favour of tearing animals apart. That does not seem very sporting to me."

What supporters say about it

People in favour say that jobs will be lost because of the ban. They argue that dogs will be destroyed and hares shot by farmers if coursing stops.

Greyhound trainer John Bromiley said: "Not a single hare would be saved. Instead they would be shot by farmers."

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