Jonathan Djanogly calls on the Government to act nationally against illegal hare coursing events which are streamed online for illegal gambling all around the country.
Mr Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) (Con)
I very much welcome my hon. Friend’s bringing to the House this important subject, which is of extreme concern to my constituents in Huntingdon and to people in wider Cambridgeshire. On the point that he raises, is he aware that those events are being streamed not just locally but nationally for gambling purposes, and that therefore this problem goes beyond all our constituencies and is a national problem that must be dealt with as such by the Government?
I fully agree with my hon. Friend. The betting generates thousands of pounds for the greedy and unscrupulous organisers of the events, who truly have the blood of hares on their hands.
Hare coursing is having an adverse effect on our native hare population, which in turn has an effect on biodiversity. That is why hares are included in the UK biodiversity action plan.
Is the Minister aware that for some farmers, one of the answers to this is to go out—quite legally—and shoot all the hares on their land, to stop people coming in to course them?
I am actually fairly horrified by that. I hope that is hearsay; I hope it is not true. I was raised and brought up on a farm, and to see a hare out in its natural habitat is a great thing. Certainly, my brother has hares on his farm, and I do not think they have had any incidents of this, but that is not anything that one wants to hear.