Senator criticises animal campaign


A Fine Gael Senator has claimed “a cabal in the Green Party” is dictating government policy on animal welfare and condemned an “orchestrated campaign” by people outside the State seeking to influence legislation.

John Paul Phelan said the Oireachtas computer system was “jammed up” with hundreds of messages from animal rights activists around the world urging Senators to support the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill, 2009. He, and “all the other Senators”, have been “inundated with e-mail” from Belgium, Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the US and elsewhere. “Politicians in Ireland shouldn’t be bullied into a course of action by citizens of foreign countries,” he said.

The dog breeding legislation, intended to outlaw “puppy-farming”, was prepared by Green Party leader and Minister for the Environment John Gormley. The draft Bill proposes a new regime of annual inspections and fees for dog breeders.

Fine Gael and rural Fianna Fáil backbenchers have called for greyhound breeders to be exempt because the industry is already regulated by existing legislation. They also want an exemption for hunt kennels which do not breed dogs for commercial purposes.