Dogs Trust

The IGF welcomes commitment by Irish Greyhound Board to make provisions in their Code relating to export of greyhounds

However, the forum is disappointed that provisions to prevent the export of Greyhounds to countries with poor welfare standards, will not be included in the Greyhound Racing Bill 2018

Following the final debate of the new Greyhound Racing Bill 2018 which took place yesterday evening, Dogs Trust, Chair of the International Greyhound Forum (IGF), is disappointed that their proposed amendments regarding the export and traceability of Greyhounds was defeated in Seanad and Dáil Éireann and will not be included in the final Bill. However, the forum welcomes the commitment by the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) to make provisions regarding best practice when exporting Greyhounds, by expanding its existing Code of Practice.

The IGF was established almost 13 years ago by the former CEO of Dogs Trust, Clarissa Baldwin CBE and now includes animal welfare members such as the ISPCA, Irish Blue Cross, Paws Animal Rescue and The Retired Greyhound Trust as well as Industry members (Irish Greyhound Board, Irish Coursing Club, Greyhound Board of Great Britain) and members of the veterinary profession. The IGB has vowed to engage and work with members of the IGF in formulating the expanded code. This is a positive step and one that we will continue to remain engaged in to ensure the protection of the welfare of all Irish Greyhounds through all stages of their life.

Despite neither the Greyhound export amendment nor traceability amendments being included, there were a number of positive outcomes in the final Bill. An amendment put forward by Dogs Trust, whereby the Irish Greyhound Board (newly titled Rásaíocht Con Éireann in the Bill) may make provisions for the rehoming of Greyhounds at the end of their racing or breeding career, was included. As well as that, an amendment that sought the inclusion of a veterinary practitioner on the Board of IGB, was accepted in the Bill.

Commenting on the announcement, Suzie Carley, Chair of the IGF and Executive Director at Dogs Trust said: “The welfare members of the IGF have been campaigning for many years for a ban on the export of Greyhounds to countries that have poor or non-existent animal welfare standards and are grateful to have the backing of many political figures including, Maureen O’Sullivan TD, Tommy Broughan TD and Senators Lynn Ruane, Frances Black, Grace O'Sullivan and Alice-Mary Higgins, who all strongly agree with putting the welfare of Greyhounds at the forefront of the Greyhound racing industry. We are incredibly disappointed that, despite overwhelming support on this issue, our amendments were not included in the final Bill.  However, there were a number of positive outcomes, such as the IGB’s commitment to make provisions in their Code regarding best practice when exporting Greyhounds and also our amendment regarding Greyhound retirement plans being introduced in the Bill. We look forward to engaging with the IGB on formulating their expanded code and hope that these improvements will go a long way towards protecting Greyhounds in the future.”

Suzie continues: “Sadly, we continue to see shocking media reports revealing the horrific fate faced by ex-racing Irish Greyhounds after being exported to China. It is imperative that we continue to work hard to protect the lives of Greyhounds and prevent them from enduring these barbaric practices.” 

The welfare members of the IGF are also pleased to support the proposed amendment to the current Welfare of Greyhounds Act (2011), which was tabled in a Private Members Bill by Tommy Broughan TD in 2017. It seeks to create a white list of countries to which the export of Greyhounds would be permissible.  The intention is to put a stop to the practice of Greyhounds being sold, and sold on, to countries with little or no welfare standards. 

Speaking about the Welfare of Greyhounds (Amendment) Bill, Deputy Broughan said: “My Bill is still on the clár of the Dáil, so myself and number of colleagues have been trying to amend the Government’s own Greyhound Racing Bill 2018 to include the white list and much improved provisions and safeguards around the export of Greyhounds.  I am not convinced with the Government’s arguments that we cannot police where Greyhounds are being sold on to because we have evidence of Irish bred and owned dogs ending up in Macau in China and therefore it is time to make those who sell Greyhounds to these countries accountable.  Ireland has such a long history of Greyhound racing that we should be world leaders in the welfare of Greyhounds and should be looking to create an example to other European countries.”