Backward Step For Greyhound Welfare

13 April 2016

ALARMING NEWS of recent concerns for the welfare of Irish greyhounds include three young Irish greyhounds exported to China – to race at the Macau Canidrome greyhound track, the only legal greyhound track in China.

Macau 1The greyhound track is internationally known for it’s extremely worrying lack of framework for welfare and adoption program. In 2012 the Dept. Agriculture, Food and the Marine stopped Irish Greyhound Board plans of the export of greyhounds to, and investment in, the Macau track on welfare grounds – stating that such plans did “not provide sufficient assurance that adequate provision would be made to safeguard the health and welfare of greyhounds in China at the end of their racing life”. In 2014 Australia’s greyhound racing body – Greyhounds Australasia – banned the export of Australian greyhounds to Macau, stating that they do “not support the export of greyhounds to any country that does not meet contemporary animal welfare standards”.

Macau 2Research shows that the young greyhounds: Crossfield Leona, Crossfield Simon, and Two Stone Tadgh have already had two trial runs each at the track in March and April 2016. GRAI is extremely concerned that these young greyhounds now face poor living conditions, high chances of serious injuries, and a certain death – given there is no chance of adoption after racing. A spokesperson for GRAI questioned “how could anyone send such beautiful animals to a place with a future widely known to hold no hope for a life they deserve”.

Macau 6GRAI is seeking a meeting with the IGB and the Dept. to discuss the exports, along with other recent welfare omissions – i.e. no funding outlined in the recent news of €700k IGB investment plan into the racing industry for welfare or greyhound adoption; the alarming decline in testing for prohibited substances (5,331 samples taken in 2015 compared to the 7,307 samples taken in 2013); and the Irish Greyhound Owners and Breeders Federation meeting with the Animal Health and Welfare Division on seeking exemption from microchipping regulations for racing greyhounds – stating that greyhounds already have “thorough traceability”. The traceability of greyhounds was an area highlighted heavily for improvement in the Welfare Enhancement Recommendations Report by the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine in January 2016.