To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to tackle hare coursing.
Measures to address hare coursing were included in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act that gained Royal Assent on 29th April this year. Hare coursing causes considerable distress to farmers, landowners and rural communities, in addition to the suffering it causes animals.
Our new legislation introduces two new criminal offences relating to activity connected with hare coursing and increases the powers of the courts to deal with offenders upon conviction. We have significantly increased the maximum penalties available upon conviction for offences under the existing and new legislation including, for the first time, the possibility of custodial sentences.
These measures came into force on 1st August this year.