Press Release: Update on Oscar Wilde Ferry Greyhound Deaths 2014

In response to a request by the Data Protection Commission, GRAI has removed a press release from our website regarding the eleven Irish greyhounds that died on the Oscar Wilde ferry en route to Spain in 2014.  Our original press release named the person responsible for organising the transport who was not penalised for his involvement.  

The transport was organised by a Tipperary-based greyhound trainer who brokers sales to Spanish buyers for the purposes of hunting and breeding.  The greyhounds were loaded in Tipperary onto a Spanish-registered van and driven onto the Oscar Wilde ferry in Rosslare by a Spanish driver.   

The driver did not declare the greyhounds on board and failed to open windows or provide any ventilation for the dogs who were tightly packed into crates.  All the dogs in the vehicle suffocated.  The driver was arrested on arrival in Cherbourg and an investigation was launched.  

As a result of this investigation, the Spanish driver was served with an exclusion order by the Irish Greyhound Board preventing him from purchasing greyhounds at public sales, registering greyhounds in the Irish studbook or entering greyhounds in races or at coursing meetings.  

The exclusion order does not prevent him from transporting dogs and he is still free to move greyhounds from Ireland to Spain.  The Irish broker was not penalised or sanctioned in any way and greyhounds continue to make the same journey across the sea to a miserable fate in a dangerous place. 

The action taken against the Spanish transporter was little more than a charade, proving once again how little concern the IGB really has for the welfare of the dogs.  The real guilty party is the callous Tipperary broker who just weeks before this tragedy was complaining online about how hard it is to make money “in this game”.   As long as the greyhound industry is allowed to regulate itself there is nothing to stop unscrupulous and greedy parties selling dogs into inhumane conditions with impunity. 

Galgos (Spanish greyhounds) are routinely hung from trees, thrown down wells and abandoned to starve in remote locations at the end of the hunting season.  Less than one month ago, a shipment of twelve greyhounds destined for Spain was stopped at Dublin Port.  The dogs were crowded two to a crate, ten of the dogs were muzzled and none had access to water.  The vehicle in which the dogs were being transported had a Spanish registration. 

All twelve dogs were registered with the IGB and nine had been raced in the month prior to travel. Due to an ongoing investigation, the name of the Spanish transporter has not been made public.  

We have not forgotten the eleven dogs that died on the Oscar Wilde ferry or the thousands of Irish greyhounds who have made journeys to places from where they will never return.—mr.-manuel-portillo-lopez.pdf