Hare coursing is a blood sport where dogs are used in the pursuit of hares, often for the purposes of betting. It takes place on areas of flat, open land where the dogs can easily and visibly pursue the hare. It is typically carried out by large groups of people who travel long distances.
It has evolved into a nationally organised crime with huge sums changing hands through online betting.
Hare coursing is illegal under the Hunting Act
, but it also has other impacts. For example, fences and gates can be damaged by vehicles forcibly trying to gain access to land. Once in a field, it is common practice to film the chase from a moving vehicle, which can inflict significant damage to the field and any crops within it.
Farmers who challenge hare coursers are often threatened with physical violence to themselves or their families.
Badger-baiting is a similar activity where dogs are set on badgers, typically resulting in the death of the badger, and potentially serious injuries being inflicted on the dogs.