Enforcement of the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011

Enforcement of the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011

The Irish Greyhound Board announced on 30 June 2015 that a successful prosecution was brought against Paul Nolan under the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 on 25 June 2015. Paul Nolan was ordered to pay a fine of €2,500, plus €1,500 costs, for failing to comply with a Welfare Notice given by the IGB in November 2014 on two counts: That provisions of food and water must be given to greyhounds on a daily basis, and that Paul Nolan could not keep greyhounds on his premises after 5 December 2014. Read more

Press Release: Ferry Greyhound Tragedy

Press Release: Ferry Greyhound Tragedy

The following press release was issued to media contacts around Ireland yesterday on behalf of GRAI to inform them of the incident involving the death of 11 Irish greyhounds on a ferry to France on Monday:

Yesterday I was made aware via a contact in France of the death last weekend of eleven Irish racing greyhounds en route to Spain via France on the Irish Ferries vessel “The Oscar Wilde”. To date, this event has not been reported in any Irish newspaper although it has been covered in the French press. Read more

It Was a Dog’s Life Yesterday in Dublin!

It Was a Dog’s Life Yesterday in Dublin!

Yesterday hundreds of dog lovers, rescue organisations, and pets from all over Ireland and overseas, joined a peaceful walk through the centre of Dublin, aimed at promoting retired racing Greyhounds as excellent family pets. Celebrity singer Sharon Shannon also took part in the walk, showing her support and continued advocacy for Irish Greyhounds.

The Walk for Greyhounds was organised by Greyhound Rescue Association Ireland (GRAI), an organisation dedicated to promoting Greyhounds as pets while working to improve industry standards for their welfare and care.

As Una Phelan, spokesperson for GRAI said, “While there is still much work to be done in the area of Greyhound welfare, it was incredibly moving to see the amount of public support for Walk for Greyhounds today. It is becoming clearer that attitudes, at last, are changing and that more and more people are realising that Greyhounds deserve a life when they retire from racing. Greyhounds are very gentle and quiet dogs, good with children, generally get on well with other dogs, and make wonderful family pets.”

This was the fourth Walk for Greyhounds to be held by GRAI since 2011 and is an annual event. By promoting Greyhounds as pets, GRAI hopes that more homes can be found in Ireland for the Greyhound, a noble dog, which for so many people throughout the world is a symbol of Ireland and Irish culture.

If you are interested in learning more about Greyhounds as pets, or adopting from a local rescue, please browse our website or Like Us on Facebook.

Pictures from this year’s walk are available here. Pictures taken by Eimhin McNamara

Walk for Greyhounds 2014

Walk for Greyhounds 2014

Dog Lovers and Irish Celebrities to Descend on Merrion Square in Support of Greyhounds

Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais Supports the 2014 Walk for Greyhounds AT NOON on Sunday, June 15, 2014 dog lovers from across Ireland will descend on Merrion Square for a peaceful walk through the streets of Dublin as a tribute aimed at raising awareness and support for the welfare of Irish greyhounds. This event has been organized by Greyhound Rescue Association Ireland (GRAI), an organization dedicated to promoting retired racing greyhounds as pets. The walk will formally begin at 1.00pm and all are welcome to attend. Those with dogs (any breed) are welcome to bring their pets to the walk which will last approximately one and a half hours.

Una Phelan spokesperson for GRAI said, “We are calling on the people of Dublin and Ireland to open their hearts and homes to greyhounds and ask that they join us on the walk to see for themselves what wonderful pets greyhounds make.”

Many of Ireland and the UK’s most well-known celebrities have also pledged their support of GRAI and the Walk for Greyhounds, such as musician Sharon Shannon and English comedian and actor Ricky Gervais who has also declared,

“I am delighted that Greyhound Rescue Association Ireland are holding their 4th peaceful Walk for Greyhounds in support of Greyhound Welfare on Sunday June 15, 2014 in Merrion Square, Dublin, Ireland. Greyhound Rescue Association Ireland and their 16 member rescues are working tirelessly to save, support and rehome unwanted Greyhounds, and promoting Greyhounds as the fabulous family pets that they are. It is my hope that Irish dog lovers everywhere, along with their pets, will turn out in large numbers to walk in unity alongside the greyhounds to help reinforce the point that greyhounds are for life and for companionship and not for racing, betting and human entertainment. I wish the Walk for Greyhounds 2014 every success!”

For more information please contact:
Andrea Lynch
GRAI PR Officer
+353 (87) 112 9868

Walk for Grehounds 2014 Poster

Submission to Department of Agriculture – Ireland – Bord na gCon Review

Submission to Department of Agriculture – Ireland – Bord na gCon Review



Department of Agriculture – Ireland – Bord na gCon Review

18 November 2013

This is a submission from the Greyhound Rescue Association of Ireland (GRAI), an active stakeholder concerned with the activities of Bord na gCon/Irish Greyhound Board (IGB), and the consequences for racing greyhounds once they are unwanted and considered “wastage”. This association was formed in 2010 and consists of 20 Member rescues, several of whom have been individually rescuing Irish greyhounds for twenty years and more. Among us, we have found homes for literally thousands of greyhounds over the years and will continue to do so. As an association, we work directly at the ‘coalface’ of the least attractive and indeed least impressive aspect of the IGB.

Although GRAI understands that the IGB’s ultimate aim is profit, the IGB should understand that its very dependence on a live animal demands the welfare of greyhounds should be publicly paramount, and any suffering in the name of profit should never be openly tolerated nor quietly condoned. When the IGB does not take the welfare of its greyhounds seriously, and swiftly, visibly enforce both its own Code of Practice and IGB rules as well as the Greyhound Welfare Act, they reveal a callous disregard for greyhound welfare and become increasingly ostracised by the paying public. It is overly simplistic for the IGB to solely attribute the downturn in stadia attendance to the flagging economy.

Our members are painfully aware of the extremely poor conditions that many discarded and unwanted greyhounds are found in. Since its foundation, GRAI and its members have been gathering and documenting incidents of cruelty, and yet the IGB has not acted on reported cases.

With this in mind, GRAI also holds the belief that there must be absolute accountability and transparency around greyhound welfare, and that more can and should be done to enforce the Greyhound Welfare Act. There is a modest estimate of 18,000+ greyhounds bred in Ireland annually, yet many do not end up on Irish tracks, and we have great concern for them. The registration system in place should be able to provide an exact number of greyhounds bred and the number of greyhounds accountably and humanely destroyed. There is no reason why the IGB, annually in receipt of government subsidy, should be an exception from other public bodies and not be held accountable. At the very least, a cap needs to be set on the number of matings allowed annually.

One additional pressing welfare matter that has been publicly discussed is the IGB intention to establish Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Services (BAGS) racing here in Ireland as a possible way of generating more income for the IGB itself and stadia owners. This will only further deteriorate the welfare situation, as it is well known in the UK that BAGS greyhounds are constantly in training, being trialed two or three times a week and over-raced regularly, having very little time to rest and recover; this is due to the nature of BAGS racing, as when the greyhounds are raced they generate money no matter if they win or lose. It is well known among greyhound rescue programmes in the UK that BAGS greyhounds are generally the ones found in the most deplorable condition. By establishing BAGS racing here, the IGB is adding to the overall greyhound welfare problem, not addressing it.

Please feel free to contact us with any further questions you might have. We are very willing to cooperate with the Department of Agriculture in promoting greyhound welfare in Ireland. Although the IGB does have a welfare officer, it is our impression that the IGB leadership has little genuine interest in greyhound welfare.

Yours faithfully,

Victoria Lyons

GRAI Welfare Officer
Email: pr@grai.ie
GRAI website: grai.ie

Press Release: No Holiday for Racing Greyhounds in Spain

Press Release: No Holiday for Racing Greyhounds in Spain

Greyhound Rescue Association Ireland (GRAI) is concerned that Irish greyhounds are being purchased at greyhound sales in Ireland for the express purpose of export to Spain for racing.

GRAI’s spokesperson Andrea Lynch reported ‘ Just recently Spanish buyers were seen at the Thurles Sales buying 20 Greyhounds, which are now kenneled somewhere in Co. Tipperary. We have been informed that when their passports are in order they will be transported to Southern Spain, Estremadura. Estremadura has a very bad history of abusing Galgos (Spanish Greyhounds). It is big hunting country. An oval track has been built but is not yet licensed so no official betting is allowed. However, it is likely that racing will start as soon as the dogs are in place’.

This seems to reflect a recent statement by the Irish Greyhound Board’s CEO Adrian Neilan, who stressed industry plans to ‘monetize’ their ‘product’ at the international level. In the present climate, more Irish greyhounds are likely to be exported to Spain as the demand for them in Ireland decreases and the greyhound industry looks for new markets.

In spite of the fact that the Government introduced greyhound welfare legislation in Ireland in 2011 to protect racing greyhounds, these dogs are simply allowed to be sent to abroad to countries where no such legislation exists, and in spite of some countries being well know for poor animal welfare standards. Spain in particular has a proven record of especially inhumane treatment to Spanish greyhounds (Galgos).

GRAI spokesperson Una Phelan added ‘We can’t allow Irish greyhounds to be exported to this country for short financial gain by some breeders, owners and trainers. This is the 21st century and barbaric practices, such as the abuse of Spanish greyhounds should not be encouraged or endorsed by the Irish Government by allowing Irish greyhounds to be sent to this country, where they may face the same fate.’

Greyhound Rescue Association Ireland (GRAI) are urgently calling on Minister Simon Coveney to reject any export licences required to enable these unfortunate greyhounds to be exported to Spain and other locations. GRAI are also calling on anyone concerned about the fate of these greyhounds to sign the petition.

For further information please contact:
Andrea Lynch
PR Officer for GRAI

Email: pr@grai.ie
Phone: +353(87) 112 9868.