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HARE HUNTING...

Hare hunting with packs of dogs may be done on foot or on horseback.

Mounted packs are called Harriers and the hounds used are similar to foxhounds (some harrier packs also hunt foxes). Foot packs use smaller, slightly slower hounds, either Basset or Beagle hounds. (Disgracefully, several beagle packs are attached to public schools and colleges, such as Eton College, Cambridge University and Marlborough College.) In Britain there are 150 packs of Harrier, Beagle and Basset hounds, hunting hares at least once a week during the season, which is between September and April each year. Even on a very poor day, each pack can kill 2 or 3 hares; with good scenting conditions and at the right time of year the death toll of one of Britain's rarest animals can be many times that.

Typically, the huntsman takes his hounds into a field where he thinks they will be able to find hares and casts them over the field until one or more of the hounds catch the scent of a hare. However, hares are often reluctant to move, and they may not start running until the hounds are almost on top of them.

Although a hare is initially much faster than a hound, the hounds are bred for stamina and can wear down the hare, catch it and kill it. Once the hounds are on to a hare�s scent it is very difficult for the hunted animal to escape. Hares are reluctant to leave their home territory, and will run in ever decreasing circles as they tire. Due to the sheer speed of the chase, followers and hunt staff are often left behind. A kill may therefore take place out of sight and sometimes the remains of the hare will never be found. A caught hare is invariably torn apart by the hounds - it never experiences a "humane" death

AND HOW TO STOP IT...

As with all bloodsports, the best way to stop a hunt from killing wildlife is to intervene directly - by sabotaging the hunt in person! Every week, hare hunts of all kinds are attended by people like you, who recognise that every individual animal has a right to be protected and saved from an awful and unnecessary death. The tactics hunt saboteurs use to prevent this slaughter are simple, harmless and most importantly very effective.

Simply talking to (and thereby distracting) the huntsman when he is casting the pack into the hunting field or making any noise that causes the hounds to raise their heads up off the ground and away from any scent, can save a hare�s life. If hounds do catch the scent of a hare, sabs can call them away using hunting horns, and/or attempt to cover the scent with citronella spray. These tactics can be also be adapted to sabotage mounted packs.

Hunt saboteurs save thousands of animals a year using these methods. In fact, they have been so successful that most foot packs no longer advertise their meets in an attempt to keep saboteurs away. Unfortunately for them, this also means that they lose most of their followers - forcing many packs to the verge of bankruptcy.

SOME ARGUMENTS AGAINST HARE HUNTING:

  • The brown hare is in serious decline in Britain. Hares live and breed above ground, making them vulnerable to disturbance caused by modern farming chemicals and machinery. Hares lucky enough to escape direct contact with toxins sprayed on farmland, are likely to ingest them through contaminated food supplies. Despite dwindling numbers of hares, Britain�s hare hunts continue to kill hares, week after week, year after year.
  • The European Commission decided against adding the hare to the Protected Species list, after the European Federation of Hunters Association argued that the EC report contained incomplete explanatory clauses. A few words out of place meant the hare was been denied the urgent protection it needs.
  • An article in the Shooting Times (22/3/90) claimed that there was an abundance of hares, especially in areas where shooting, hunting and coursing took place. However, in Bailey�s Hunting Directory 1989-1990 the Axe Vale Fox Hunt, (previously a hare hunt) said they no longer hunted hares because of their scarcity !

    In the wild hares rely on short bursts of high speed to escape predators.. Once a hare is up and running natural predators will give up the chase as too much vital energy would used to pursue it. Thus when a hare is chased by a pack of hounds it is in a prolonged state of physiological fear wholly unnatural to it. But to the hare hunters - the longer a hunt is, the more "sport" is obtained.

    During a "good" hunt of up to 90 minutes the hare is continually on the run, since hares do not go to ground to escape their pursuers.

    Hunts claim that hares are killed by a "quick nip to the back of the neck". But the running action of the pursued hare makes this virtually impossible; hounds usually bowl the hare over and snap at its belly. A caught hare will literally scream in pain and terror as it is ripped apart by the hounds.

 
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