Greyhound board to meet UK counterparts to develop tracking system

Figures in over-breeding report ‘based on guesstimates, estimates and assumptions’ – IGB chief

The Irish Greyhound Board will next week meet its British counterpart to develop a system to track where dogs end up, in the wake of an exposé alleging widespread animal cruelty in the industry.

The Irish Greyhound Board will next week meet its British counterpart to develop a system to track where dogs end up, in the wake of an exposé alleging widespread animal cruelty in the industry.

 

The Irish Greyhound Board will next week meet its British counterpart to develop a system to track where dogs end up, in the wake of an exposé alleging widespread animal cruelty in the industry.

Ger Dollard, chief executive of the IGB, said the State-funded board, the Irish Coursing Club and the Greyhound Board of Great Britain will work on a “tripartite arrangement to very quickly bring in a framework to ensure full traceability for racing greyhounds.”

However, he added the IGB can not guarantee greyhounds bred in Ireland will not be exported to the likes of China and Pakistan, where it is claimed they can endure appalling conditions.

“We don’t have control over exports,” he told RTÉ Radio’s CountryWide.

“The issue of exports, and the Attorney Geneal is advising in relation to this, has to be dealt with at a European level, it has to be dealt with at world trade agreement level, because at the present time, under freedom of movement, people are entitled to export to any country that they wish to do so.”

Mr Dollard said the IGB has worked very hard with the greyhound industry “to dissuade and discourage exports to countries that do not have a good welfare code.”

“At a moral level, we are absolutely, totally and utterly against it — that is our stated policy,” he said.

“We have worked very hard with the greyhound community to get that across, to tell them to be very careful in relation to exports, who they are dealing with, where they might be going.

“Any reports we get of greyhounds that end up in China or Pakistan or any place else, they are investigated. We go back to to the original owner, if we can take a prosecution for failure to notify, we do so.

“But from a moral point of view, absolutely, greyhounds should not be exported to countries that do not have good welfare standards.”

Mr Dollard disputed figures in a report — commissioned by the IGB itself — that suggested thousands of greyhounds are culled in Ireland every year because of over-breeding.

The analysis carried out by consultants Preferred Results Ltd was revealed in an RTÉ Investigates programme which has created the recent controversy.

Despite praising the consultants in a letter written in June last year for being “rigorous, thorough and professional” in carrying out their report, Mr Dollard said on Saturday that its figures were “based on guesstimates, estimates and assumptions”.

“There are a lot of figures thrown around in relation to unaccounted for dogs,” he said.

“We would not accept the figure of 6,500 which Preferred Results came up with, [or] the automatic assumption that they are all culled.

“That is not correct.”

Mr Dollard said he was not dismissing the report and not in any way suggesting that Preferred Results was not professional, thorough and rigorous but that “because there isn’t a traceability system for greyhounds nobody can at this point in time account for all greyhounds.”

The IGB chief executive also defended early-morning greyhound races — run for online betting — saying some dogs “actually prefer to run earlier in the morning, rather than late in the evening.”

“So, I think it is natural evolution and I don’t think it in any way diminishes how the greyhound is being treated to have an early morning race meeting,” he added.