Welfare of Greyhounds (Amendment) Bill 2017

22nd March 2017

GREYHOUND RESCUE Association of Ireland welcome the proposed Bill amendment to the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 which would provide a control on the export of greyhounds from Ireland – we congratulate TD Thomas Broughan on announcing this on March 21 2017.

The Bill highlights a much-needed focus on how greyhounds have been exported from Ireland to countries with little or no controls on welfare. This has especially been seen with the nine greyhounds exported to Macau in 2016, and two in 2014, where the greyhounds have no chance of adoption after racing – facing only a certain death. GRAI have raised further issues of many exported greyhounds to countries such as Spain – where greyhound ‘Barney Rubble’ ended up as a stray – and Argentina – where greyhound ‘Burnt Oak Bolt’ sadly died at the age of only four years old. Given that Argentina has recently outlawed greyhound racing any future exports of greyhounds there would be to only fuel illegal racing. Continued exports to Pakistan raise further welfare concerns.

TD T. Broughan raised on-going concerns on the fate of greyhounds in Ireland – referencing to concerns raised by GRAI of the traceability of greyhounds. Traceability on paper looks good but fails to show the true fate of thousands of greyhounds bred in Ireland. Between 2010 and 2016 at least 120,126 have been born in Ireland. For the years 2010 to 2015 2,896 greyhounds were surrendered to Irish Dog Pounds – where 2,497 were destroyed. For the years 2011 – 2016 (excluding 2014 – figures not being available) the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust homed 1,927 greyhounds and assisted in homing 1,440 greyhounds.

TD T. Broughan continued to highlight the huge concerns of doping within Irish greyhound racing as recently highlighted by RTE Prime Time, following working with GRAI. While the control on the doping of greyhounds has had forward steps in publications of disciplinary findings, GRAI are alarmed by the decline of samples being taken – from a peak of 7,307 samples taken in 2013 to 5,383 samples taken in 2016.

GRAI congratulate TD Thomas Broughan on these huge issues being raised in his presentation of his Bill – we urge support for its second reading and further urge Minister Creed to adopt recommended improvements raised by the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which GRAI supplied.