Blair criticises Sinn Féin after it votes to regulate hare coursing

Alliance MLA John Blair has criticised Sinn Féin after the party voted in favour of regulating hare coursing instead of banning it.

John Blair animal welfare

The party’s ard fheis this past weekend backed a motion for ‘strong regulation’ of hare coursing in the south. The practice has been illegal in Northern Ireland since 2003. Other motions were heard, including one stating the likes of shooting, fishing, hunting and coursing were ‘safe, well run and good for the economy,’ but were not voted on.

“It was deeply disappointing Sinn Féin did not vote to ban hare coursing, particularly as the party looks to enter the next government in the south,” said Mr Blair.

“Unfortunately, it has echoes of when Sinn Féin voted against my Private Member’s Bill on banning hunting with dogs over two years ago. Any hunting of wild animals is a cruel and sadistic practice and it is not enough to merely regulate it, strongly or otherwise. It appears the party is merely selectively progressive and it depends on the issue involved.

“Animal welfare is a priority for Alliance and remains so. When the Assembly returns, I will bring my Bill forward again and attempt again to bring local legislation into line with the rest of the UK, by ending this barbaric past-time and making Northern Ireland a leader in stopping such cruelty.”