Posted by 26 June 2018
In New Hampshire, some hunters capture live rabbits and then use them as part of hunting dog training. Animal rights activists are pressuring the state to ban this practice, saying it violates the state’s law against cruelty to animals.
State rules currently allow what is called “hare hounding,” where snowshoe rabbits are trapped and then released to be chased by a pack of beagles. The dogs are then judged based on their performance in these field trials.
In May, a state commission voted on rules that would expand the trapping of hares for this purpose. This sparked an outcry from New Hampshire’s animal rights community. They flooded the commission with public comments. One organization said that the commission was violating state law by allowing it, since New Hampshire bans cruelty to animals.
Supporters of the practice say it is in keeping with the state’s tradition of hunting and trapping. Opponents say that it is an outdated, cruel practice that serves no useful purpose.
The issue is now being taken up by the legislative committee that oversees administrative rules. It is also possible that there could be legislation introduced in the General Court next year that would modify or ban this practice. If legislators do so, it would join other rules that curtailed hunting practices that some consider cruel. The state placed restrictions on bear-baiting in 2015 and considered limiting bobcat hunting in 2016.
Do you think that hunters should be allowed to use live rabbits to train hunting dogs?