>> Stay informed about: Book I strongly recommend on animal protection/wildlife th..
Just letting you know about an excellent book on the animal protection
theme…Bad Hare Days by John Fitzgerald (Olympia Publishers). It’s the
memoir of a lifelong animal protection campaigner and it’s a real page-
turner, a most compelling and inspirational read.
Because the author hasn’t the resources to mount a big promotional
drive a few of us fellow activists here in Ireland are “spreading the
news” about the book as best we can.
If anyone wishes to assist us in that effort may I suggest that you
order the book at your local library…that way more people will get to
From his teenage years, John Fitzgerald has been a committed
campaigner against blood sports. Bad Hare Days is his recollection of
life as a campaigner.
In the book, he paints a vivid picture of what the sport of hare
coursing entails: greyhounds chasing hares and viciously mauling them
to death. He compares the cries of the dying hares to the sobs of a
baby or the wail of the Banshee.
The story is explicit, honest and at times disturbing. Fitzgerald
shows the analogy between the cruelty he was subjected to at the hands
of coursing supporters and the cruelty these same people inflicted on
Bad Hare Days is also an account of a turbulent time in the history of
hare coursing in Ireland and the events that brought this cruel sport
to national attention. The author details opposition that former
President Mary Robinson and Senator Noel Browne encountered when they
made their case in favour of banning hare coursing in the Irish
Bad Hare Days gives an interesting insight into Ireland in the
mid-1980s. Fitzgerald shows how money, power, and establishment
figures such as priests and farmers influenced parishioners and people
in the surrounding neighbourhoods where the story is based.
Fitzgerald appeared in court on a number of occasions, accused of
threatening and harassing hare coursing officials. On each occasion he
was found either not guilty or the case collapsed.
For all Fitzgerald’s efforts to raise public awareness of the cruelty
of hare coursing there has been little change in legislation governing
the sport. Had the 1993 Gregory Bill been passed, it would have banned
hare coursing in Ireland. However, this Bill was defeated in the Dáil
by 104 votes to 16; so hare coursing continues to be legal, albeit
with the dogs muzzled.
The author captures rural Ireland of the 1980s. His use of descriptive
language shows the contrast between Ireland then and Ireland of the
Celtic Tiger. He does not pull any punches when repeating the verbal
abuse that he endured while protesting against the cruelty of blood
sports. The quirky nicknames that he uses for those who abused him,
based on their own most-used insults, inject a much-needed air of
humour into the book.
This book offers an interesting insight into the lengths that people
will go to in order to protect their beliefs. Fitzgerald was willing
to go to prison for speaking out against a cruel sport. Those who
supported hare coursing were willing to allow an innocent man to be
persecuted if it meant they could preserve their sport.
Bad Hare Days is a gripping account of what one person endured in
order to campaign for what he believed in. The book asks the question,
was John Fitzgerald treated any more humanely than the animals he
campaigned to protect…against the brutality of hare coursing?
Well worth a read I promise!