February 10, 2006

News flash: Dogs chase rabbits!

In the sort of incisive reporting that we expect from local television stations, a California ABC affiliate has discovered that dogs chase rabbits and hares--and that people watch.

We're talking about "coursing"--the pursuit of jackrabbits, primarily, by salukis, tazis, lurchers, and other "sighthounds." Greyhounds were bred for that activity too. Sometimes the hares escape, but if they are captured, they are cooked and eaten

Some neo-Puritans have weighed in:

This kind of conduct is appauling [sic] and there is no excuse for this barbaric act to take place.

Some of the protestors assume wrongly that capitve rabbits are used.

Steve and Matt at Querencia discuss the story and follow up on it.

But it's an uphill battle against the "fuzzy bunny" ideology, not to mention the "meat is murder" ideolology.

Coursing is an old hunting sport, different from falconry in many ways but plenty enough alike that its detractors need see no difference. In both, one animal pursues and catches another while people watch, partisan and unapologetic for the outcome. It is a hunt, after all: the purposeful killing of animals. Ultimately, that is what's abhorrent to those who now seek to ban coursing and punish those who enjoy it.

If you are any kind of hunter---if you ever eat meat---take note of this.

I don't know and fear to imagine the direction this story might take. But we could ask: Will America could go the way of Great Britain, utterly tamed by misguided anti-cruelty sentiment?


Anonymous said...


Just found this other site related to your blog and the ABC 7 "Blood Sport" story on Open Field Coursing. Looks like they are trying to get the sport changed, check it out...


There's a lot that wasn't addressed in that program for example the state's (California) policy on rabbits in general, the welfare of the dogs (do they ever hit a run full speed into a fence), and what do the hunters really do with a hare that's all torn up by dog - do they seriously eat it? I am still left with numerous questions which I doubt will be addressed by anyone on either side of this debate. FYI

Steve Bodio said...

Fences-- we "teach fence" early, calling them back and forth through horizontally- strung fences until they learn to go under them at speed. They get so good at this that I have seen them turn a jack after doing so. They have the sense not to run into small- mesh "sheep wire". My tazis sometimes go OVER. In 25 years of such hunting I have never seen a dog seriously injured. Could it happen? I suppose. You could also fall down and break your neck.

I wouldn't eat a "torn up'' rabbit-- I treasure the clean ones-- but my dogs would. (Intestines removed and cooked to guard against worms.) And though it apparently happens with greyhounds which are clumsier, again, I have never seen it happen with dogs of the saluki- tazi type.

And anyway what offense against nature to leave it for the ravens, which I don't do but....?