Letter: Coursing ground is a year-round haven for hares

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Sir: The headline to your photograph of the hares at Great Altcar, Lancashire (25 February), implies that the cancellation of the Waterloo Cup has prevented a mass slaughter of the hare population.

The Waterloo Cup is not held at Altcar because of the large number of hares there, rather the reverse; there are a lot of hares because the Waterloo Cup is held there. For three days of the year the hares are coursed under strict rules. For 362 days of the year they are protected from all predators, human or animal. Over those three days about 25 hares are killed in courses that usually last a few seconds before death or, more usually, the hare escapes.

Surely 25 hares are not too high a price for a healthy resident population. One thing is certain: should coursing ever be banned, you will be unable to take a similar photograph again. The hares will not be there.

Yours faithfully,




25 February