Coveney: No plans to ban fox-hunting or hare-coursing

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has said there are no plans to ban fox-hunting and hare-coursing.

Simon Coveney is addressing an animal welfare conference in Dublin this morning, which is being picketed by a small group of anti-bloodsport protesters.

The Minister said the new Animal Welfare Act would lead to prosecutions against those who abuse animals, and would also regulate coursing and hunting.

However, he said outright bans on hunting were not on the agenda.

"We have seen significant improvements in regulating these activities," he said.

"There are some people who would like to ban (them) outright. My approach has been to regulate and put codes of conduct in place, to make sure when there are activities that people are concerned about, that we have tight regulations and inspections."

However, protesters gathered outside insisted an outright ban was essential for animal rights.

Laura Broxson from the National Animal Rights Association said regulations are not good enough.

"That's ridiculous and completely unworkable," she said. "The majority of Irish people are not animal abusers and (Simon Coveney) is letting a minority dictate what happens in this country. It's simply not good enough."

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