A new development has been spotted in the ongoing anti-hare coursing campaign in Sleaford by a pair of local anonymous artists.
The ‘Hare Aware’ campaign has seen over 20 hare sculptures made of mud crop up at prominent locations around Sleaford and surrounding villages, highlighting the falling numbers of the wild animal locally due to illegal hare coursing.
The artists have asked to keep their identities secret to avoid potential reprisals from the criminal gangs involved in this illegal sport where huge sums change hands in betting and landowners suffer crop damage, as well as threats and intimidation when confronting those involved.
The police’s Operation Galileo is pooling resources to target these offenders and the artists have explained in the past that their sculptures are ‘transient art’ designed to raise the profile of the animal welfare issue while made of materials that gradually melt away with the weather. However, quite a number have been deliberately destroyed by persons unknown.
It was then spotted this week that a spooky apparition had appeared overnight over the weekend - a ‘ghost hare’.
The first creation was seen suspended above the damaged remains of a mud hare next to the Handley Monument on Southgate.
One of the artists behind the project explained: “We’ve noticed that people have been getting very upset about the mud hares around Sleaford being destroyed by vandals.
“However, to us, these destructive acts by a few individuals represents what hare coursers do to real hares in the fields all around us.”
He went on: “Although the vandals don’t realise it, their actions are part of the ‘art process’. The ghost hares are our comical reply to both the vandals and hare coursers to say that the spirit of the hares lives on through our art and campaigning.
“Also, it is raising more awareness of the hare coursing issue. Their destruction is leading to more people being ‘hare aware’.”
You can follow more updates on their hare aware Facebook page.