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CLA: 'Change law to stop cruel hare-coursing'

Friday 16th October 2020

RESIDENTS are being warned to be vigilant over increased reports of hare-coursing in rural areas this autumn.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is stepping up its campaign to combat the illegal blood sport in which participants bet on lurchers catching terror-stricken animals released into open fields.

The activity attracts illicit gambling and other crimes, such as criminal damage and intimidation.

It can also exact a heavy toll on farming land which will be invaded without permission for coursing events.

It was outlawed by the 2004 Hunting Act and takes place illegally without the permission of the landowner, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to land and crops.

The CLA wants tailored sentences for criminal damage to property as well as vehicle seizures and compensation orders.

One landowner near Langley said spring and autumn are the favoured times for hare-coursing on land around Leeds, Headcorn, Lenham and Chegworth.

He said: “They just wreck anything that’s in their way to get access to the field. Quite apart from the cruelty to these animals, hare-coursing enthusiasts have no regard to anyone’s property.”

President of the CLA Mark Bridgeman said: “Following harvest we always see a spike in hare coursing and sadly the problem is once again prevalent in the countryside.

“Those involved in this crime are hardened criminals who will not think twice about threatening and intimidating anyone who attempts to stop them from pursuing this illegal activity.”

A CLA member, who asked not to be named, said: “The police do what their best but the coursers have no respect for officers or anyone else who gets in their way. Until the law changes, they will continue to cause extensive damage on farms, persecute the brown hare at will and intimidate the farming community without fear of a meaningful legal deterrent.”

Landowners and the public need to be able to recognise when they are witnessing a hare coursing incident and they report this to the police either by 101 or 999 (if it is a crime in progress).

 

PIC - League against Cruel Sports

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