The issue of Irish greyhound exports to a deathtrap racetrack in Macau has again been raised in Dail Eireann this week. The exchange between Clare Daly TD and the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Andrew Doyle, was featured on today’s Oireachtas Report programme on RTE1 TV.
Deputy’s Doyle’s response was described as “contradictory”.
He repeated the claim that “Bord na gCon [the Irish Greyhound Board] advises all owners involved in the export of greyhounds to export only to destinations with high animal welfare standards” – advice clearly ignored by a greyhound breeder in Cork who nearly succeeded in exporting 24 greyhounds to China last month. Their journey was not halted on Irish soil but in London when they arrived at Heathrow Airport and were refused transport due to the poor condition of their crates.
Andrew Doyle and the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed have both declared that “all exporters of dogs are required to provide animal health and welfare certification in respect of compliance with identification requirements, fitness for the intended journey, health status and rabies vaccination requirements. Once these animal certification requirements are met, DOGS, INCLUDING GREYHOUNDS, MAY BE EXPORTED INTERNATIONALLY.”
They are effectively saying that as long as the paperwork is in order, greyhounds may be exported. What is clearly needed to stop this obscene trade is not “advice” from the greyhound industry but a legislative ban on the export of dogs from Ireland to China and other such countries. Despite hundreds of thousands of petition signatures, multiple international protests and the damage being done to Ireland’s reputation, the Department of Agriculture and the Irish Governemnt shamefully appear unwilling to do this.
In her reply to Andrew Doyle, Clare Daly TD urged him to intervene for the dogs – “To be honest, he can, because his predecessor has done it before, and the circumstances mean he should do it in this case, particularly to be in line with the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011. This Act states that anyone who trades, transports, rears or trains a greyhound has to have due regard to a code of practice. It includes situations where they are being traded and transported, so the final destination is key. If they are going to end up at a destination where they are going to be discarded, mauled and end up undoubtedly dead, we should stop that practice.”
You can read the full exchange below. Please also spare a few minutes to respond to our important action alert and share it with friends.
Thank you to Maureen O’Sullivan TD for presenting the Dail Question, Clare Daly TD for responding to the reply and to Oireachtas Report for highlighting the issue.
Urgenly contact Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and Minister of State Andrew Doyle to demand legislation to prevent any more Irish greyhounds being sent to China and for action to be taken to rescue and rehome the Irish greyhounds currently at the track. Please also sign and share the petitions below.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD / Michael Creed TD / Andrew Doyle TD
Dail Eireann, Kildare St, Dublin
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Tel: +353 (0)1-6194020 (Enda Kenny)
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 (Michael Creed)
Tel: +353 (0)1 618 3611 (Andrew Doyle)
Contact Lufthansa and urge them to STOP transporting greyhounds from Ireland to China.
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Send a tweet to Lufthansa @lufthansa
Please sign and share the petitions
Stop export of Irish greyhounds to China
Lufthansa: Stop transporting Irish greyhounds to China
Shut down the Canidrome, the world’s deadliest greyhound racetrack
Ban Blood Sports in Ireland
Dáil Debates – Wednesday, 8 June 2016
Priority Questions – Export of Greyhounds
Maureen O’Sullivan (Dublin Central, Independent) To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to intervene in the crisis surrounding Irish greyhounds being transported to China; and if he accepts that he has a specific role to play in prohibiting Irish greyhounds from being transported to countries where they face cruelty and abuse, given his funding of Bord na gCon. [14518/16]
Seán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle) Parliamentary Question No. 56 is in the name of Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan and it is being taken by Deputy Clare Daly.
Andrew Doyle (Wicklow, Fine Gael) All exporters of dogs are required to provide animal health and welfare certification in respect of compliance with identification requirements, fitness for the intended journey, health status and rabies vaccination requirements. Once these animal certification requirements are met, dogs, including greyhounds, may be exported internationally. Exporters are also required to comply with the provisions of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1 of 2005 on the protection of animals during transport.
I am aware that a very small number of greyhounds have been exported to Macau in the past two months. I understand that Bord na gCon, which is responsible for the governance, regulation and development of the greyhound industry in the Republic as well as the well-being of greyhounds, has developed a code of practice on the welfare of greyhounds. This sets out specific standards that all individuals engaged in the care and management of registered greyhounds are expected to meet. The code emphasises that owners and keepers must take full responsibility for the physical and social well-being of greyhounds in line with best welfare practice.
Oversight mechanisms in place regarding greyhound exports include inter-agency co-operation, co-operation with fellow members of the International Greyhound Forum and mechanisms relating to intelligence and information which is received from welfare officers during the course of investigations carried out under the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011. Where any breaches of welfare standards are identified under that Act, Bord na gCon takes stringent actions and prosecutions ensue in accordance with the Act.
Officials of my Department have recently met with representatives of Bord na gCon and the welfare members of the International Greyhound Forum – represented by the ISPCA and Dogs Trust here in Ireland – to consider the issues surrounding the export of greyhounds. Bord na gCon advises all owners involved in the export of greyhounds to export only to destinations with high animal welfare standards and that provide the expected levels of greyhound care and management as defined under the code internationally, and I endorse this view. I point out, however, that international trade takes place in a legally complex environment and that national legislation is not legally binding on activities in other states.
Clare Daly (Dublin Fingal, United Left) If the Minister of State has met representatives of the ISPCA, he will know that it, the Irish Blue Cross and Dogs Trust are implacably opposed to the export of greyhounds to China. The Minister of State’s response today is contradictory, as were the responses of his predecessors. On the one hand, as the Minister of State has tried to do today, we have been told previously that once the appropriate animal health and welfare certificate requirements are met in transit it does not really matter what happens to them at the end of their journey. However, contradicting that is the fact that in March of this year the Department blocked the Irish Greyhound Board from exporting dogs to China because of animal welfare concerns.
The reality is that the practice, which poses significant danger to the dogs involved, is continuing. The practice has been highlighted internationally by animal welfare organisations and has got quite a lot of global attention. Deputy O’Sullivan’s question is seeking the intervention of the Minister of State in this situation and for him to play a role. To be honest, he can, because his predecessor has done it before, and the circumstances mean he should do it in this case, particularly to be in line with the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011. This Act states that anyone who trades, transports, rears or trains a greyhound has to have due regard to a code of practice. It includes situations where they are being traded and transported, so the final destination is key. If they are going to end up at a destination where they are going to be discarded, mauled and end up undoubtedly dead, we should stop that practice.