My Bad Hare Days As a Campaigner


                                                              I am a campaigner against blood sports in Ireland and I've written a book to a book on my experience of Ireland’s anti-hare coursing campaign.   In Bad Hare Days I recount the ups and downs of campaigning on this issue over the past thiry years.     I would to quote from following review of Bad Hare Days that appeared in the local “Kilkenny Voice” newspaper in Ireland. The book is published by Olympia Publishers of London, whose website is   Article:   var so = new SWFobject("", "clock", "160", "50", "8", "#ffffff", "."); so.addParam("wmode", "opaque"); so.addParam("base", "."); so.addParam("menu", "no"); so.write("clockcontent"); Local author launches new book on anti-hare coursing Kilkenny Voice newspaper (Kilkenny City, Ireland)   Bad Hare Days recounts the story of the author’s high profile involvement in the Irish anti-hare coursing campaign.   Freelance journalist John Fitzgerald, of Callan, County Kilkenny, is renowned for his anti-blood sports opinions and campaigning and in his book which has been published in the UK, (Olympia Publishers) he recalls how witnessing scenes of cruelty in a field where hares were being netted for coursing opened his eyes for the first time to the downside of Ireland’s “field sport” tradition.   He then determined to learn more about the peculiar form of “entertainment” that passed for sport in parts of the Irish countryside. Nauseated by the spectacle of hares being made to run for their lives from hyped up greyhounds, and by the heart-rending cries of the hares as the dogs tore them apart, he joined the campaign against blood sports.   He found that hare coursing was high on the list of activities that animal welfare people wanted banned by law. This they sought to achieve by picketing coursing events, letter writing on the subject, and lobbying politicians. But he found that taking a strong public stand on a deeply emotive and controversial issue almost always carries a price tag.   He, like many others who opposed the powerful vested interests and lobby groups that promote and support hare coursing in Ireland, suffered at their hands. He was assaulted at work, subjected to severe bullying and fired from his job with a farmers Co-op for his anti-coursing and anti-hunting views.   The book recounts not only his own first hand experience of the campaign, but also focuses on the progress of the campaign itself, the ups and downs…the heartbreak and the occasional successes that come with involvement in any campaigning on difficult or controversial animal protection or ecological issues.   He offers a fascinating insight into what happened in the context of Ireland’s anti-hare coursing campaign when radical activists linked to the Animal Liberation Front resorted to sabotaging coursing venues and releasing hares from captivity.   The group or network that originated in Britain in the 1970s arrived in Ireland in the mid 1980s and its involvement in the campaign against blood sports provoked clashes on the picket lines and resulted in the homes of legitimate animal protection campaigners being raided by police, who found it difficult to tell apart peaceful anti-hare coursing activists from the shadowy nocturnal figures who were releasing hares from captivity and illegally sabotaging coursing events   The section of the book dealing with the conflict resulting from the tactics and strategies of the militant activities and their impact on the efforts of peaceful campaigners makes compelling reading and gives the book at times the “feel” of a thriller.   The book is written in a gripping novelistic style and some identities and place names are changed for legal reasons. ...END OF REVIEW...   That more or less sums up my experience...and what I've written about it.   Thanking you,   Sincerely,   John Fitzgerald, author of Bad Hare Days  
JFitz JFitz
46-50, M
Mar 13, 2009