The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is calling on the government to take urgent action to stop the export of greyhounds to Pakistan, a country where horrendous animal cruelty takes place.
In our call to Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and Taoiseach Enda Kenny to act, we have highlighted the dire situation for animals in the Asian country.
For example, one of the individuals now in possession of some of the growing number of Irish greyhounds being exported to Pakistan, is involved in brutal pig fighting.
Stomach-churning video footage, posted on Facebook, shows a tethered pig suffering a sustained and brutal attack from two of his hunting dogs. With his leg tied to a post, the pig is unable to escape as the dogs bite into his underbelly and attempt to chew off his ears. A crowd of bloodsport enthusiasts looks on as the doomed creature’s pain intensifies.
The footage is from one of a series of shocking hunting and coursing videos uploaded to the Facebook page of a Dr Aftab Niazi. The caption on the pig attack video confirms that the “dogs belong to Dr Aftab Niazi”. In another video, a fatally injured pig is seen being dragged away past the bloodied remains of a dog which Niazi says is his – “my brave dog fight till the end”.
Dr Aftab Niazi is now the owner of an Irish greyhound named Heavens Quest. Before ending up in Pakistan, Heavens Quest was used in greyhound racing in Clonmel and Kilkenny. According to the Irish Greyhound Board website, he was entered into 11 races between February and October 2014.
Responding to a Dail question from Paul Murphy TD in January, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed claimed that “there is no record at this point of direct exports [of greyhounds] to Pakistan”.
Minister Creed clearly didn’t look too hard. The Irish Council Against Blood Sports easily uncovered a document showing a change in ownership for Heavens Quest. An Irish Coursing Club Greyhound Stud Book identity booklet (photographs of which appear online) shows that the ownership of Heavens Quest was transferred from a Joe O’Neill in Newbridge, County Kildare to “new owner” Aftab Niazi in Mianwali, Pakistan.
Niazi is also the owner of other Irish greyhounds, including Glenvale Lily, Mineola Sprint and Kierans Hollie.
He describes Glenvale Lily – whose last race here was in Mullingar in 2012 – as “the queen of coursing [and racing] and the best brood birch at present in Pakistan”, adding that “sadly her career ended up with severe injury to her hind leg, intact fracture of her hind leg.” Mineola Sprint last raced at Longford greyhound track in 2012. A listing for Kierans Hollie on the Irish Coursing Club website shows that her previous owners were Der Dineen and Donie Galvin in Cork.
The Irish greyhounds are being sent over 6,000 km to Pakistan for use in racing, coursing and for breeding. The route the dogs are being taken, whether directly from Ireland or from the UK or another country, is currently unclear. So too is the method of transport.
Crafty Barrazo is another Irish greyhound in Pakistan. Records show that the breeder of Crafty Barrazo is Irish Coursing Club president Brian Divilly. The Irish Greyhound Board website lists the owner as the Divilly Family Syndicate. Video footage shows this greyhound chasing a rabbit during a coursing meeting in Pakistan. Alongside him is Lixnaw Eoin (last raced at Tralee greyhound track in 2013).
Another individual in Pakistan who now owns Irish greyhounds is Sher Afgan Challianwalla of the Challianwala Kennel. Challianwalla was present at the Irish Cup hare coursing meeting last weekend where he was photographed alongside Brian Divilly. Among the Irish dogs at his kennels is Portane All In who is being used for breeding. Before being exported to Pakistan, he was used for hare coursing in Limerick, Tipperary and Laois.
According to Cork Dog Action Welfare Group, the Irish Greyhound Board held an international sale at Shelbourne Park last August where 117 greyhounds went on sale. “Buyers from around the world attended these sales, so once again some of our Irish greyhounds may end in countries such as China, Pakistan & Spain, all recognised for their cruel treatment of animals,” the group said.
The CAGED Nationwide campaign adds: “Irish greyhounds ‘bred for the racing industry’ are being forced to travel thousands of miles to countries where there are no welfare laws. Around 80 per cent of dogs are sent to the UK from Ireland, but many later transported to countries like Pakistan to be used for racing, of where there are no animal welfare laws whatsoever to protect them from suffering and death.”
Last month Kerry Elliman of Birmingham Greyhound Protection condemned the export of greyhound to countries “with no animal welfare laws”.
Greyhounds sent to Pakistan “will either die at a very young age once they can no longer race or will be bred from,” she said, adding that a contact in Pakistan told her that it’s “dreadful for the dogs there, it’s always mega hot, there’s no animal protection laws, no rehoming programs and not many vets and the ones that are out there are hours away.”
He told her he has seen greyhounds starved to death at the end of their career.
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An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
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Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: +353 (0)1-661 1013.
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