Sac­cha­rine re­port­ing masks cru­elty of cours­ing

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - OPINION -

SIR, A face­book video clip of hares in cap­tiv­ity at a County Of­faly cours­ing com­pound has at­tracted more than 96,000 views (at the last count) in re­cent days and hun­dreds of vo­cif­er­ous com­ments ex­press­ing ou­trage at the fact that this gen­tle in­of­fen­sive crea­ture can be net­ted in our coun­try­side for use as live bait in public fes­ti­vals of or­ga­nized an­i­mal cru­elty.

Sadly, this de­pic­tion of hares, await­ing their per­for­mance of a life­time for hu­man amuse­ment, does not rep­re­sent some long for­got­ten sin­is­ter re­minder of Ire­land’s Dark Age past. They point to a prac­tice that is fully le­gal, thanks to cow­ardly, vote con­scious and ut­terly un­scrupu­lous politi­cians.

Live hare cours­ing, out­lawed in al­most all the ju­ris­dic­tions that once al­lowed it, is not only per­mit­ted in the Re­pub­lic of Ire­land; it is backed by high pro­file com­mer­cial spon­sors, eu­lo­gized in the sports pages of na­tional news­pa­pers, and is the sub­ject of de­testable so-called colour pieces penned by scribes who call them­selves jour­nal­ists but are in fact noth­ing less than a sick­en­ing and per­pet­ual dis­grace to their pro­fes­sion.

No gen­uine sports jour­nal­ist would write about a GAA hurl­ing or foot­ball match or a soc­cer game with­out al­lud­ing to fouls, in­juries or other egre­gious anom­alies... se­ri­ous or mi­nor, yet this is ex­actly how hare cours­ing is ‘re­ported’ in our na­tional and pro­vin­cial me­dia.

Th­ese so called re­porters at­tend cours­ing events where they wit­ness cap­tive wild an­i­mals be­ing ter­ror­ized, mauled, struck at high speed by dogs, or hav­ing their bones crushed. Then they file sac­cha­rine cen­so­ri­ous ac­counts that make no ref­er­ence to any of this. How does the NUJ stand over such a per­ver­sion of true jour­nal­ism? Why is it tol­er­ated by the pro­fes­sion gen­er­ally? It is an af­front to jour­nal­is­tic in­tegrity that cries out for rec­ti­fi­ca­tion.

And when peo­ple like me draw at­ten­tion to this ex­cuse for sports jour­nal­ism our protests are also cen­sored, in def­er­ence to those who pro­mote and de­fend this de­spi­ca­ble form of cru­elty to de­fense­less wild an­i­mals.

Sin­cerely,

John Fitzger­ald,

Lower Coyne Street,

Cal­lan,

County Kilkenny.

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