Hilary Forde: greyhound racing’s missing anti-doping boss

8 Jul
Hilary Forde: greyhound racing’s missing anti-doping boss
The Sunday Times | July 7 2019
by John Mooney
 
The official in charge of anti-doping operations at the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) is on extended leave, The Sunday Times has learnt.
 
As the industry faces unprecedented criticism over abuse of greyhounds, the IGB’s director of racing governance and compliance, Hilary Forde, has not been at her desk for some time.
 
Forde, a qualified solicitor, was appointed to the IGB position in 2014 and introduced new testing methods designed to catch trainers who use banned substances and illegal drugs, such as cocaine, to give greyhounds a competitive edge when racing.
 
It is thought she had concerns about the level of penalties imposed on greyhound trainers found guilty of cheating.
 
An independent IGB control committee is responsible for imposing penalties. It has previously been criticised by animal welfare groups and some greyhound owners for imposing petty fines.
 
Tony Walsh, the spokesman for the Irish Greyhound Owners and Breeders and Trainers Federation, described Forde as someone who was fully committed to reforming the industry.
 
“We believe she did everything possible to improve greyhound racing and had full confidence in her,” he said. “Our organisation would urge the Department of Agriculture to look into her absence as a matter of urgency.”
 
Forde was responsible for several prosecutions against prominent greyhound trainers who gave banned substances to dogs. Many were caught when she changed the IGB’s test regime and began to send samples taken from winning dogs to laboratories in Britain, where they were given more thorough analysis.
 
The IGB yesterday refused to discuss the issue but said its anti-doping programme is being led by a welfare and regulation team. Forde also declined to comment.
 

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