Irish Government urged to ban unethical and painful surgical AI

21 Mar

ban unethical surgical AI 2023 copy

The Irish Government is again being urged to ban surgical artificial insemination, an invasive procedure which greyhounds are continuing to be subjected to.

Already banned in the UK, it involves making a cut in the abdomen and inserting semen directly into the uterus.

In the past four years, there have been more than 500 surgical artificial inseminations carried out on greyhounds used in racing and hare coursing.

“Surgical insemination involves anaesthetising the female and making a small incision in her abdomen so that her uterus can be gently lifted out,” a breeding booklet published by Greyhound Racing Victoria outlines. “The semen is then injected directly into the uterus via a fine needle with half of the semen being injected into each side (horn) of the uterus. The uterus is then gently placed back, and the surgery site is stitched (sutured) closed.”

Responding to a Dail Question from Neasa Hourigan TD last month, Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue revealed that the procedure was carried out 501 times on greyhounds since 2019, including 87 in 2022, 133 in 2021, 142 in 2020 and 139 in 2019.

Information obtained by Deputy Hourigan also showed that there were 1,482 Frozen Semen Inseminations on greyhounds here in the same period, with 77 involving semen from deceased dogs.

This continuation of surgical artificial insemination is a reminder that the pursuit of winnings in the government-funded greyhound “industry” comes before the welfare of dogs. Not even cutting into the bodies of greyhounds in a bid to produce winning litters is off-limits in this shameful gambling activity.

Surgical artificial insemination is against the law in the UK, with the British Veterinary Association stating that “experts say it is highly unethical and painful for bitches due to the subsequent pregnancy putting pressure on abdominal wounds”.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons notes that “Surgical Artificial Insemination is prohibited by UK animal welfare legislation which legally restricts mutilations to animals (i.e. procedures which interfere with sensitive tissue or bone structure)”.

In a February 2022 Dail Question, Sinn Fein TD Eoin O Broin asked the Minister for Agriculture “if he will consider banning the surgical artificial insemination of greyhounds and other canines due to the growing body of veterinarian medical evidence regarding animal welfare issues from surgical artificial insemination of canines and in view that Britain has outlawed the practice”.

Responding at the time, Minister McConalogue stated: “My Department has not received any welfare complaints in relation to the procedure outlined by the Deputy. There are no related policy proposals being considered currently. The artificial insemination of greyhounds is regulated under the Artificial Insemination of Greyhounds Act, 2005. There are no plans to amend these regulations at present.”

“The Veterinary Council of Ireland is the statutory body that regulates the practice of veterinary medicine in the State – it maintains a register of veterinary practitioners, veterinary nurses and veterinary premises for which a certificate of suitability has been issued,” he added.

Responding to an appeal to join calls for a ban on surgical artificial insemination, the Veterinary Council of Ireland last year told ICABS that the matter was considered at meetings of the VCI’s Legislation, Ethics and Monitoring Committee and that it is “under consideration by the Council”.

Speaking at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Agriculture on 25 May 2022, Senator Lynn Boylan commented: “A reply to a parliamentary question shows that over 400 female greyhounds underwent surgical artificial insemination in the past three years [2019-2021]. We know that the procedure is banned in Britain. Representatives of the Irish Veterinary Council have told this committee that they are looking at this very invasive procedure. The first thing to consider before carrying out any procedure is the requirement not to harm any animal. ”


Urge Minister Charlie McConalogue to follow the UK in banning surgical artificial insemination.

Charlie McConalogue
Minister for Agriculture
Tel: 01 618 3199 or 01 607 2000

Urge the Veterinary Council of Ireland and Veterinary Ireland to join calls on the government to ban surgical artificial insemination.

Niamh Muldoon
CEO, Veterinary Council of Ireland
Tel: +353 (0) 1 668 4402

Finbarr Murphy, Chief Executive
Veterinary Ireland
Tel: +353 (0)1 457 7976

Don’t go greyhound racing or attend events at greyhound tracks. Please join us in urging the government to end the state funding that is keeping the dying greyhound “industry” afloat.

Since 2001, over €309 million in funding has been handed over to Greyhound Racing Ireland, including €19.2 million for 2021, €17.6 million for 2022 and €18.2 million for 2023. It’s time for politicians to stop the funding and allow unpopular greyhound racing to die a death.

Please contact your local TDs and urge them to oppose this funding. Visit the Oireachtas website for contact details for TDs

Urge the leaders of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the Green Party, Sinn Fein and Labour to stop the funding and back a ban on cruel greyhound racing

Micheál Martin TD
Leader, Fianna Fail
Phone: 021-432 0088
Leinster House: 01–618 3000

Leo Varadkar TD
Leader, Fine Gael
Telephone: 01-619 4020
Tweet to:

Eamon Ryan TD
Leader, Green Party
Tel: 01 618 3894

Mary Lou McDonald TD
Leader, Sinn Fein
Tel: (01) 727 7102

Ivana Bacik TD
Leader, The Labour Party
Tel: (01) 6183136

“Stop state funding to cruel greyhound racing” – Email all Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Green Party, Sinn Fein and Labour Party TDs.

Email Fianna Fail TDs;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Email Fine Gael TDs;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; Patrick.O’;;;;;;;;;

Email Green Party TDs;;;;;;;;;;;

Email Sinn Fein TDs;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Email Labour Party TDs;;;;;;

Please sign and share the petitions

Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Racing

Stop supporting the cruel greyhound “industry”

GAA: Stop club fundraisers at greyhound tracks

Tell Gain Pet Nutrition to Stop Sponsoring Greyhound Racing

Watch RTE’s award-winning “Greyhounds Running For Their Lives” documentary

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: