Police blast illegal hare coursing
3 May 2012
Hare coursing is still rampant in Lincolnshire despite having been outlawed for seven years, police have stated.
The blood sport, which involves chasing down hares through the use of hounds, has been banned in the UK since February 2005, after the passage of the Hunting Act the previous year. The legislation criminalised most hunting with dogs, with a small number of exceptions.
But Lincolnshire Police have reported that people are still flocking from around the country to partake of the hunts, with incidents sometimes reaching as many as 40 per day during the most active times of year.
Lincolnshire is a popular destination for those who want to flout the law on hare coursing, as the comparatively flat landscape makes it easier for sighthounds to keep track of their quarry and run them down.
This has led the Lincolnshire Police to institute a scheme known as Operation Galileo, which takes place throughout autumn and winter with the aim of putting a stop to the illegal activity.
Police stated that the number of incidents had increased over the previous year, saying that the current level of activity “stretches [their] resources”. One man who was caught as part of a hare coursing group was given an Asbo prohibiting him from entering Lincolnshire, having travelled from outside the county in order to join in.
The law on hare coursing has been controversial ever since the implementation of the ban, with participants making the claim that hare coursing is a traditional activity which serves to regulate hare populations and test the abilities of the hounds involved.
Despite these protests, however, it has been outlawed in the interests of animal welfare and is punishable by fines of up to £5,000. Hare coursing has also been criticised by farmers, as it can cause damage and disruption to farmland.