29 June 2017
CONCERNS ABOUT THE export of greyhounds from Ireland have again been raised with the export of ten greyhounds from Ireland to Spain this week.
Greyhound Rescue Association Ireland has extensively researched the export of greyhounds from Ireland with a particular focus on the past four years. Our findings show an alarming number of greyhounds being exported to various countries around the world for breeding, hunting, and illegal or unregulated racing. Exports to mainland China, Macau, Spain, Argentina, Chile and Pakistan only add to existing local issues with dog welfare and dog populations in countries which have little or no welfare legislation in place to give protection to these greyhounds.
Whilst GRAI understand at present there is no legislation specific to banning exports to such countries, it is clear that immediate and purposeful action is necessary to deter any future exports under the current legislation or updates to the Bord na gCon Code of Practice. Maximum fines must be handed out to anyone failing to correctly carry out transfer of ownership (to date GRAI has only seen the minimum fixed penalty [€250] notices handed out). GRAI also again calls for sanctions and bans applied to trainers/owners/transporters/etc. abroad to be taken into account by Bord na gCon/DAFM when issuing licenses in Ireland. In 2017, Ireland should not be a place where greyhounds can be used simply as a commercial commodity by disgraced owners and trainers who have been prohibited from participation in racing in the UK and Australia. There is a moral duty to give these wonderful animals the highest standards of protection that they deserve.
In the case of this week’s exports of 10 greyhounds to Spain, the transport was undertaken by Irish transporter Tom Tanner. GRAI Press Officer, Richard King, notes ‘it’s simply appalling that Mr. Tanner is at present allowed to continue to operate and work with greyhounds given his fines and warning off by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain in 2016, for greyhound doping and greyhound welfare-related offences’. Richard adds ‘yes he has been granted new GBGB disciplinary hearings via an appeal but if you can have regulations in Ireland that will ban a greyhound from racing if that greyhound gives an adverse analytical finding [questionable urine sample] until the finding is resolved, then you surely must be able to ban any person involved in welfare breaches until an appeal or second hearing is resolved, especially when such welfare breaches were found by a regulatory authority in the UK, a country that has such huge ties with the industry in Ireland in terms of its need of Irish greyhounds’.
GRAI fully support the proposed legislation changes to include exports, motioned by Thomas Broughan TD, and are happy to give help and advice to those involved with this legislation change where necessary.
GRAI Spokesperson and Event Manager, Una Jansen, says ‘We have helped to guide legislation proposals recently and in the past and we are happy to continue this area of GRAI’s work. The public are demanding that welfare legislation is improved, and more importantly that the legislation is adhered to in the strongest possible form. We’ve recently seen proof of this with the huge public support of our seventh Annual Walk for Greyhounds. The public are very concerned for greyhounds both in Ireland and exported from Ireland. The public are also very concerned about the integrity of the industry they help to fund through taxes. The Irish Greyhound Board has received almost one-hundred million euros of taxpayers’ money over the past seven years and there needs to be traceability and accountability for all greyhounds in Ireland’.