Greyhound Racing Bill 2018 back in Seanad gives hope to ensuring export to countries with high welfare standards
We were disappointed that our proposed amendment to protect the welfare of Irish Greyhounds, which was included in the Agriculture Committees Report on the Greyhound Racing Bill last July, was not included in the Greyhound Racing Bill published last week.
However four senators, Senators Lynn Ruane, Frances Black, Grace O'Sullivan and Alice-Mary Higgins, strongly agree with putting the welfare of Greyhounds at the forefront of the racing industry and have tabled amendments that will prevent the export of Greyhounds to countries that don’t meet minimum animal welfare standards, in Seanad Éireann this evening. On the back of widespread national and international outrage following a series of cases of Irish greyhounds being exported to Pakistan and Macau in China, we are delighted to see Irish politicians taking this opportunity to show that Ireland will not allow mistreatment of their animals.
The amendments being put forward would provide for greater transparency around the export of Irish Greyhounds, which would be a welcome step forward for Greyhound welfare in Ireland and abroad.
The proposed amendment would allow for welfare members of the International Greyhound Forum; Dogs Trust, ISPCA, The Irish Blue Cross, PAWS and representatives from the veterinary profession, in conjunction with Bord na gCon to produce a draft list of countries which meet minimum standards with regard to the welfare of Greyhounds and to which the licenced export of Greyhounds from Ireland is permissible.
Commenting on the proposed amendments to the Greyhound Racing Bill, Suzie Carley, Executive Director at Dogs Trust said: "We are delighted to have such strong political support around the welfare of our beautiful Greyhounds. This is an area we have been campaigning on for many years. We see no reason why we should permit these dogs to be exported to countries that have a worryingly low standard of welfare and this amendment will provide certainty that we, as a country, do not accept anything but the highest level of treatment and compassion for our greyhounds. We hope that all members of the Seanad will support this amendment which will provide for implementation of additional statutory measures to prevent such exports taking place in the future."
Independent Senator Lynn Ruane said: "I'd like to thank Dogs Trust and Deputy Tommy Broughan for all their work and help in bringing these important proposals forward in the Seanad. We have an opportunity today to make sure that an Irish greyhound will never be exported to a country where it will be abused or mistreated and it is to our collective shame that these exports have happened in the past. I'm hopeful the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and our Seanad colleagues will enthusiastically embrace the opportunity presented."
Independent Senator Frances Black said: "These are common sense, humane proposals which put an animal welfare perspective back at the heart of this bill. We have a responsibility to ensure that greyhounds aren't being mistreated - both in Ireland and in export."
We launched a campaign in April called "Greywatch", that not only called for the public to help protect the welfare of Greyhounds by supporting the proposed amendments to the Greyhound Racing Bill, but also to highlight the beautiful, fun loving dogs at the heart of it.