Greyhound exports to Pakistan and China raised in Dail Eireann

14 Jul

 

Tommy Broughan TD (Dublin Bay North, Independent) has questioned the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture about the export of Irish greyhounds to Pakistan “where the animal welfare regime is deplorable”.
 
Deputy Broughan challenged a previous statement by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed that there were no “direct” exports of greyhounds from Ireland to Pakistan. He pointed to “a lot of evidence in relation to persistent reports of exports to Pakistan”. Responding on behalf of Minister Creed, the Minister of State Andrew Doyle repeated Michael Creed’s “no greyhounds have been exported directly” line, clearly sidestepping the issue of indirect exports.
 
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has supplied Minister Creed and the Department of Agriculture with a list of 200+ Irish-born greyhound who have sadly ended up in Pakistan. They have also been made aware of evidence showing more Irish greyhounds now in China. Our appeal to the Minister to urgently act to save greyhounds from export has been shamefully ignored, despite evidence of obscene animal cruelty in these countries being highlighted.
 
A big thank you to Tommy Broughan TD for all his efforts to try and help what he described as these “beautiful, intelligent animals”.
 
Watch the video to see the full exchange or scroll down for a transcript.
 
ACTION ALERT
 
Sign + Share the petition – Stop the Export of Irish Greyhounds to Pakistan
 
Join us in urging Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to act NOW to stop the export of Irish greyhounds to Pakistan and China.
 
Email “Stop the export of Irish greyhounds to Pakistan and China” to leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie, michael.creed@oir.ie, frances.fitzgerald@oir.ie
 
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/campaignforleo/
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo
 
Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Email: michael.creed@oir.ie
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: +353 (0)1-661 1013.
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelcreedtd
Tweet to: @creedcnw
 
Exports of Irish greyhounds
Dáil Éireann Debate – 22 June 2017
 
Thomas P. Broughan TD: I also wish to be associated with the good wishes expressed towards Deputy Doyle on his reappointment. It is well merited, I think. Some months ago, his colleague, the Minister, Deputy Creed, told me that three greyhounds were exported to Argentina in 2013, 33 in 2014, 3 in 2015 and 7 in 2016, although greyhound racing has ceased in Argentina. He also said that no greyhounds are exported direct from Ireland to Pakistan during 2016. But there are persistent rumours that those exports are taking place. Previously, the Minister mentioned the EU TRACES system which looks at the export of animals throughout the European Union. Nonetheless, there are persistent rumours that there are significant exports to Pakistan, where the animal welfare regime is deplorable. Can I ask in relation to the Welfare of Greyhounds (Amendment) Bill, a Bill which I sponsored myself, if the Minister will be adopting it and including it in your own legislation?
 
Deputy Andrew Doyle (Minister of State at Department of Agriculture): I thank the Deputy for his kind words. My Department has a close working relationship with welfare charities on all aspects of animal welfare. The Department has in the past met with the International Greyhound Forum, which includes members of Dogs Trust and the ISPCA, to discuss the issue of greyhound exports. Information received to-date from my Department’s local offices indicates that no greyhounds have been exported directly from Ireland to China or Pakistan to-date this year, and nine greyhounds were exported directly from Ireland to China in 2016.
 
My Department has access to the figures for exports of dogs from Ireland to other EU member states through the European Commission’s TRACES [trade control and expert] system. My department does not have figures for the movements of dogs that are, for example, exported to the UK, the most significant destination for Irish dogs, and subsequently exported to a third country.
 
I am aware that the Deputy has introduced a Private Members’ Bill on the subject of the export of greyhounds and to respond directly to the Deputy’s query, my Department officials are examining the Bill. Once animal health and welfare standards, set by EU law for trade within the EU, are met, dogs, including greyhounds, may be exported. Exporters are required to comply with EU law on the protection of animals during transport. The Irish Greyhound Board advises all owners of greyhounds to only export to destinations that provide the expected levels of greyhound care and management as defined in its code of practice. That’s a view which we fully endorse.
 
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: The Minister of State will remember that last year, around the time the Government was formed, there was a major public outcry in relation to the export of three Irish greyhounds to Macau, where they would have been raced in the infamous Canidrome, where dogs are effectively raced to death. Subsequently, a couple of dozen Irish dogs were returned to Ireland when the transport authorities in the UK stopped those who were carrying them. There is no adoption or protection system in Macau or in China generally but there has been a lot of evidence in relation to persistent reports of exports to Pakistan. Videos have been uploaded on social media and so on showing animals being seriously maltreated with hunting animals, and it is something the Minister of State needs to address. He mentioned direct exports. As he will be aware, 80% of the dogs in the UK are our dogs, dogs that were bred here – beautiful, intelligent animals. Has the Minister of State made any contact with the equivalent Department or Minister in the UK to bring this matter to their attention and see what you could do together? I know the Irish Department will be in contact with its equivalent in the UK regarding Brexit, our agriculture and fisheries and so on. In this context, the Bill I introduced was advocated strongly by the Dogs Trust welfare organisation. There is great anxiety that we would create a white list of countries that treat greyhounds and dogs generally well and we could set the example for Britain. Has the Minister of State held any such discussions?
 
Deputy Andrew Doyle: I do not have the answer because I am substituting for the Minister today. I think it would be useful to try and establish from the UK the level of…You are right – 80% of the animals in the UK are exported from Ireland, so it would be helpful to have that level of information. However, no more than anything else with Brexit, having control over the UK after its exit from the EU on the issue of further exports is going to be problematic if we continue to export to the UK, which we probably will. Because there’s a demand, or enthusiasm, in some of the countries the Deputy mentioned for this kind of activity, there is work to be done on that end by colleague organisations across the globe in many ways. These are global bodies – NGOs and the like – and they have a body of work to be done there too.
 
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: In terms of dogs and horses, the UK and Ireland operate as a single entity, I think, in terms of breeding and racing so there is clearly an opportunity there for the Minister of State, even in the context of Brexit, to ensure that high standards are adhered to.
Will the Government just accept the legislation I tabled or will it incorporate it as part of the greyhound industry reform Bill? Deputy Penrose has been doing a lot of work in this area. Will the Government take all the legislation together and improve the welfare of our greyhounds?
 
Deputy Andrew Doyle: Welfare is an integral part of the new greyhound legislation. The Bill you brought before the House is more comprehensive than ours. As Deputies Martin Kenny and Charlie McConalogue will be aware, the agriculture committee hopes to return the greyhound Bill after our consideration of it during pre-legislative scrutiny next Tuesday. We will be anxious to expedite that Bill. It will be hard to get it done before the summer recess but we hope to advance it as quickly as possible. I think it would be better to work in parallel rather than trying to morph the two into one. The tripartite agreement between Ireland, England and France has a serious impact both for our horse industry as well as our greyhound industry, so that is something to take up.
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