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Country music singer Jimmy Buckley is a greyhound breeder and coursing sponsor

14 Jul

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Country music singer Jimmy Buckley is a greyhound breeder who is “fighting to keep the sport that he loves alive”. A Sunday World newspaper report – which includes a photo of a greyhound chained onto a treadmill and another of Buckley holding the head of a mother greyhound as she suckles her puppies – quotes him as saying: “When you have a new litter, I look at them and say, I wonder are any of you champions?”

Buckley is also shamefully involved in cruel hare coursing. In a past interview he said: “I always loved coursing. Been following it for many years. Something you can never get away from, thankfully. It’s a great escape from the music business.” He is also a sponsor of the cruel bloodsport – see https://banbloodsports.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/three-amigos-singer-sponsors-cruel-hare-coursing/

SUNDAY WORLD REPORT

Bord na Gone?
Passion: Jimmy is fighting to keep the sport that he loves alive
Country star Buckley slams greyhound chiefs for letting the industry go to the dogs.
Sunday World, May 7th 2017

Country music star Jimmy Buckley is being mobbed in a field outside the rural town of Athenry, Co. Galway.

As one of Ireland’s top entertainers, Buckley is used to the attention of excited fans at his gigs.

The singer is also familiar with the frenzy that erupts when we enter his land in Montpelier.

Jimmy’s voice breaks the silence around the idyllic, quiet townland and suddenly a sea of little heads pop up from the grass and race towards him.

Within seconds, the showbiz star is engulfed by a pack of young greyhounds.

Buckley is in his element as he grapples with them. Away from the glitz and glamour of showbusiness, breeding and racing greyhounds is Jimmy’s passion.

BREEDERS

Today, Jimmy talks about his background in the greyhound scene, at a time when the owners and breeders are at war with the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) over their decision to sell Harold’s Cross Stadium in Dublin.

Harold’s Cross is being offloaded to help tackle the IGB’s debit of more than €20 million, linked to the building of Limerick Greyhound Stadium.

Like owners and breeders around the country, Buckley is furious over the decision and has frequently joined the picket line in protest.

Tipperary TD Alan Kelly is backing their campaign and has been highly critical of the semi-state Irish Greyhound Board (Bord na gCon).

There are 19 greyhound stadiums around Ireland – including two in the North – of which 10 are operated by the IGB.

Kelly said this week that the greyhound industry “has been run into the ground.”

“I have lost confidence in the board. I also believe it’s an industry worth fighting for. The people who are in this industry are just ordinary people from every corner of Ireland and I think they are being treated very shabbily at the moment.”

Shelbourne Park has also been shut down for weeks after being picketed by the Dublin Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association over the IGB’s sale of Harold’s Cross.

“This industry is up in arms. I’ve never seen anything like it from an industry. This industry is very united. I saw that in the Horse & Jockey in Thurles a few weeks ago…700 people on a Sunday evening travelled there to express their views,” Kelly said.

Nobody understands the passion of greyhound enthusiasts more than country icon Buckley.

“When greyhounds get in your blood they are a lovely thing to be at,” Jimmy tells the Sunday World.

PRESSURES

“They’re just a lovely animal. For me, given the pressures that go with life in the music business, if there was a blood pressure monitor on me here, I guarantee you my reading would be normal. When I’m around my dogs for an hour, everything goes away. That’s really the solace I get from it.”

Jimmy comes from a family in Doon, Co. Limerick, that is steeped in the greyhound business. His brother Pat is one of the top greyhound trainers in the country.

“Pat has won everything you could possibly win with greyhounds,” Jimmy says. “He won the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial Sweepstake Final at Limerick Greyhound Stadium in March with Bentekes Bocko. It was sponsored by JP and Noreen McManus and was worth €80,000.”

Looking back on his childhood, Buckley says: “We were reared on greyhounds. My dad got us into greyhounds at a very young age. As a youngster I used to love going to the races. Going to the sales in Dublin was also a big thing. It was like going to Florida for kids today.”

As a breeder today, Jimmy has made a significant investment in the facilities for his greyhounds. His centre at Montpelier in the Galway countryside is like an upmarket hotel for the dogs, with an indoor heated exercise pool, a treadmill, shower and grooming parlour. Outside, the greyhounds have fields to roam free in and gallops for exercise and training.

“I’ll never see the money back that I’ve invested here, I know that,” Jimmy says as he shows me around. “But I’m not in it for the money. I’m in it for the fact that I love the sport, and I’d love to see greyhound racing progressing.”

Buckley, of course, lives in hope that he’ll hit the jackpot. In his kennels, Jimmy shows me a new litter of pups suckling their mother.

“When you have a new litter, I look at them and say, I wonder are any of you champions?” he says.

RICH

“You look at the pups and you know what the father has done, the sire could have been a Derby winner and the dam, the mother, could have won races and you’re saying, ‘I wonder will they be like her?’…that’s the dream.

“It’s like the Lotto as everyone, rich or poor, can do it. The biggest man in the game to the smallest can produce a Derby winner.”

Jimmy says he’s sad to see the demise of the Irish greyhound industry in recent years.

“There is a lack of communication between the Greyhound Board and the grassroots. The IGB is not doing enough to promote the sport,” he says.

“There needs to be more accountability for people running the industry.

“The board members get their salaries without having to meet targets. The prize money has dropped, attendances at racing are down and it’s the domino effect.

“What’s happening at the top is impacting all the way down.

“The people on the greyhound board should be looking out for the people on the ground. After being reared with greyhounds I feel the baton has been passed on and we need to keep the flag flying for greyhound enthusiasts.”

DOG RACING BUSINESS IS OFF TRACK
By Eddie Rowley

The Irish greyhound racing industry has had a dramatic decline in fortunes over the last ten years.

In 2007, Bord na gCon, the Irish Greyhound Board, had a turnover of €65 million.

Today, it has dropped to under €30 million, a 56 percent reduction.

Back in 2006, the greyhound industry was outperforming horse racing at slightly over €50 million.

However, by 2015, horse racing had grown to nearly €80 million, while the greyhounds continued to see declines in revenue.

The IGB closed Harold’s Cross Stadium in February of this year as it struggled with a €21 million debt to AIB, linked to the construction of Limerick Greyhound Stadium.

A Comptroller and Auditor General report on the development of the Limerick Greyhound Stadium found that Bord na gCon’s borrowings has increased from approximately €11m in 2007 to twice that in 2014.

A total of €21m was spent on the Limerick Stadium at Greenpark, which was completed in October 2010.

ABANDONED

The development was green-lit without a capital project appraisal, an evaluation that assesses whether investments are justified on economic grounds and is required under government guidelines.

The report also documents how Bord na gCon purchased a site for the new stadium at Meelick in April 2005, at a cost of €1.02m, with further expenditure of €935,000, before deciding on building the stadium elsewhere.

Plans to build the stadium at the site in Meelick were abandoned after it became apparent that direct access from the site to the adjacent national road would not be allowed – a key risk that was identified in the consultants’ report prior to purchasing the site that was never presented to the board.

Deputy Alan Kelly of Labour said there was a “moral hazard” in selling Harold’s Cross Stadium and giving the funds to a board “which has seen the industry absolutely collapse over the last number of years and in debt of over €20 million because of bad decision making.”

“Particularly unacceptable” remark from greyhound board chairman

14 Jul
The chairman of the Irish Greyhound Board has been forced to apologise after being told that a flippant reference to wife beating is “particularly unacceptable”.
 
The offensive statement came during a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee last month when the IGB chairman, Phil Meaney, was being pressed for an answer on whether or not he considered it a loss that the greyhound board’s former CEO, Geraldine Larkin, resigned in December.
 
“Was she a loss? Would you have preferred her to stay?” asked Labour Party TD Alan Kelly. “It’s not a trick question. Just a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer.”
IGB chairman Phil Meaney remarked: “It’s a question like ‘Do you still beat your wife?'”
 
As colleagues of Mr Meaney smiled and laughed, Deputy Kelly stated: “No, it’s not”.
 
Later in the meeting, Galway West politician Catherine Connolly TD (Independent) denounced the comment.
 
She said: “Mr Meaney, I hate to go back on this but your comment in relation to ‘are you still beating your wife?’…I know we say comments – and I’ve been known myself – but it’s particularly unacceptable.”
 
“I unreservedly withdraw it…I felt it was a difficult question, but I unreservedly withdraw the remark and apologise,” the IGB chairman replied.
 
ACTION ALERT
 
Don’t attend greyhound races or community fund-raisers held at greyhound tracks (these are a significant source of funding for the cruel greyhound industry). If you know anyone who is considering holding an office party, hen party or fundraiser at a greyhound track, please encourage them to choose a different venue.
 
Contact the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and all your local TDs and demand an end to the funding of the greyhound industry.
 
Email “No more funding for cruel greyhound industry” to michael.creed@oir.ie, leo.varadkar@oir.ie, frances.fitzgerald@oir.ie
 
Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses
 
Please sign and share our petition
 
Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry
 
Transcript
 
Phil Meaney: Geraldine [Larkin] came in in 2014. We had regulatory problems and legal problems – lots of problems – and her skill sets, we felt, were ideal for where we were. A lot of progress was made over the next couple of years. Deputy Burke referred to the board not being freshened up. That actually is not true. Two new board members came on – those two gentlemen – so the board was freshened up.
 
Alan Kelly TD (Tipperary, Labour): Was she a loss, in your opinion? Were you disappointed that she was leaving?
 
Phil Meaney: She was very good when she was there but the focus now is changing. The debt had to be dealt with. The turning point was that we decided we would advertise the position, as was part of the contract. We just wanted to see what was out there in the context that we hope we are a bit further down the road now with the sale of Harold’s Cross. We were becoming very focused—–
 
Alan Kelly TD (Tipperary, Labour): Was she a loss? Would you have preferred her to stay? It’s not a trick question. Just a “Yes” or “No” answer.
 
Phil Meaney: It’s a question like “Do you still beat your wife?”
 
Alan Kelly TD (Tipperary, Labour): No, it is not.
 
 
Catherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent): Mr Meaney, I hate to go back on this but your comment in relation to “are you still beating your wife?”…I know we say comments – and I’ve been known myself – but it’s particularly unacceptable.
 
Phil Meaney: I unreservedly withdraw it.
 
Catherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent): Okay.
 
Phil Meaney: Just Let me explain. The question as I interpreted it was – and my colleague, Frank, answered it well and I was not quick enough on my feet. Dr. Brady was beside me. He has come in and he’s done a good job. Geraldine, I felt, did a good job. I felt it was a difficult question, but I unreservedly withdraw the remark and apologise to the Chairman.
 
See full transcript of meeeting at

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.

Deplorable conditions for Irish greyhounds exported to Pakistan

14 Jul

Video footage has emerged which confirms the deplorable conditions which Irish greyhounds are forced to endure when exported to Pakistan.

In the disturbing video, greyhounds can be seen confined in dirty, underground cages at a kennel in Pakistan. Among the dogs which have ended up there are Irish greyhounds Shilos Blaze (previously owned by a greyhound breeder in County Kerry), Gurteen Time (previously used in hare coursing in County Cork), Tullig Light (last raced in Tralee in December 2008) and Coolree Boom (last raced in Youghal on 7th October 2013). A video on the Irish Greyhound Board website shows Coolree Boom finishing in last position in her final race in Ireland.

Shame on the greyhound owners and breeders who continue to export greyhounds to Pakistan, a country where horrendous animal cruelty occurs. Shame on the Irish and UK Governments for failing to act to stop the exports.

There are growing calls for a ban on exports to Pakistan. Highlighting the plight of Irish dogs who end up in the Asian country, animal protection group CAGED Nationwide has stated: “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 are later transported to countries like Pakistan where there are no animal welfare laws whatsoever to protect them from suffering and death.”

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.”

Kerry Elliman of Birmingham Greyhound Protection has also condemned the exports, saying 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 careers”.

URGENT ACTION ALERT

Make a special effort to attend the “End Greyhound Exports” protest on Tuesday 18th July, 11am to 4pm outside the Department of Agriculture, Kildare Street, Dublin https://www.facebook.com/events/246118319226189

Join us in urging the Irish Government to ban the exports and save greyhounds from hellholes in Pakistan, China and other countries with little or no animal welfare laws.

Contact Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar now.
Email: leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie, frances.fitzgerald@oir.ie
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020

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.
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelcreedtd
Tweet to: @creedcnw

Sign and share the petition – Stop the Export of Irish Greyhounds to Pakistan
https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-export-of-irish-greyhounds-to-pakistan

Another Irish greyhound exported to China

14 Jul

A priest who died 18 months ago is being listed on the Irish Greyhound Board website as the current owner of a greyhound who has been shamefully exported to China.

The IGB webpage for “North Bound” – a black greyhound born in February 2010 – lists his owner as Daniel P. Greene. Fr Greene, a priest from Limerick who was involved in greyhound racing and also supported hare coursing, passed away in December 2015.

The greyhound board website gives no indication that North Bound is not only now owned by someone else but has actually been exported to a country where no animal welfare laws exist.

Greyhound protection group, Caged Nationwide, has reported that North Bound is thousands of miles away in China and is being used for breeding. “Beautiful black greyhound North Bound is another Irish greyhound no longer wanted by his owner, so instead of giving this dog a home after racing the legs off him, his owner accepts money from the Chinese breeders in the city of Cangzhou, Hebei province,” the group states. “North Bound will now stay in Cangzhou for the rest of his exploited life.”

North Bound was last raced at Dublin’s Shelbourne Park stadium in November 2013. As reported by the Irish Independent in an article entitled “North Bound answers Fr Dan’s prayers”, the dog won a €25,000 race earlier that year. Photos taken after the race, show the chairman of the Irish Greyhound Board, Phil Meaney, posing next to him.

Between August 2011 and the end of 2013, North Bound was entered into over 50 races around Ireland – at Shelbourne Park and also at the Clonmel, Curraheen, Limerick and Thurles tracks.

There are grave concerns about North Bound and other Irish and British greyhounds exported to China.

“Due to China having a zero animal welfare policy and the increase of greyhounds being found within the dog meat trade we are extremely concerned for any dog that has been exported there,” Caged Nationwide says in a statement.

The Irish Government has failed to act to stop the exports, despite shocking video footage emerging last year showing a greyhound being boiled alive in China.

A list of 25 unfortunate greyhounds from Ireland and the UK who are now in China can be viewed at http://www.cagednw.co.uk/chinaexports.html

ACTION ALERT

Urgently contact Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to demand legislation to prevent any more Irish greyhounds being sent to China.

Michael Creed TD
Dail Eireann, Kildare St, Dublin
Email: michael.creed@oir.ie, leo.varadkar@oir.ie
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000
Leave a comment on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/michaelcreedtd
https://www.facebook.com/leovaradkar/
Tweet to: @creedcnw @campaignforleo

30,000 dogs produced every year in Ireland’s cruel puppy farms

14 Jul

“There are 73 registered puppy farms in Ireland with at least 30,000 dogs being produced every year” – Independents4Change TD Clare Daly has highlighted the horrendous conditions for dogs in puppy farms across Ireland.

During a Dail Eireann speech on 25th May, the Dublin Fingal politician revealed that there are an average of 410 dogs coming out of each of the “industrial scale dog breeding establishments” each year – compared to a figure of 78 per farm in the UK. She also pointed out that many illegal puppy farms exist here. Listen to Clare’s speech and read more in the Irish Times report below…

Ireland is ‘puppy farm capital’ of Europe
‘Industrial-scale dog-breeding’ is damaging Ireland’s reputation, says Clare Daly TD
The Irish Times, May 26, 2017
by Marie O’Halloran

Ireland’s image as the “puppy farm” capital of Europe is damaging the State’s reputation, the Minister with responsibility for a review of dog breeding guidelines has conceded.

Minister of State Damian English said the review of the guidelines on licensing, monitoring and inspection of dog-breeding establishments had finished.

The report would be on his desk next month and he said he would not delay in taking action.

Independents4Change TD Clare Daly said Ireland had been identified as Europe’s puppy farm capital, but added that they were not farms but “industrial-scale dog-breeding establishments”.

Ms Daly said Ireland’s reputation had already been damaged because of the export of greyhounds to China. “We are developing a disreputable international name and we need to correct that urgently.”

Mr English agreed. “It does not get media coverage often but it is certainly an important area and it is damaging our reputation.”
‘Priority’

The Minister added: “Given other issues in recent years it probably did not get the priority it needed.” He stressed, “I am committing to it now,” and said he had been inspired by the efforts of Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan in the area. “Given that the review is finished, there is no reason to delay acting in this area.”

Ms Daly, who raised the issue in a parliamentary question, said there was little enforcement of existing regulations, with 73 registered puppy farms in Ireland and at least 30,000 dogs being produced every year.

That was 410 dogs per farm, while the comparative figures for the UK was 78 per farm.

“Many illegal farms exist too. Welfare organisations have said that some farms have more than 500 breeding dogs,” she said, adding that the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals believed establishments should have 10 dogs or fewer.

Ms Daly stressed the need for the inclusion of regulation on portable kennels, third-party sales, adequate licence fees, the black market and illegal selling of pups and the need to ban the sale of animals under eight weeks of age.

Increasing concerns about the industry were highlighted by a BBC documentary in August last year which exposed the lack of enforcement of regulation on puppy farms.

Mr English said there was often confusion about which Government department was in control. Several departments were represented on the working group but the Department of Housing was leading the review.

He acknowledged that having a public consultation delayed the process but “the public need to be aware of these matters and they need to be part of the conversation”.

Mr English said: “I always read submissions and I try to ensure we take them all on board inasmuch as we possibly can.”

The review was prepared with the County and City Management Association Dogs Working Group.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/oireachtas/ireland-is-puppy-farm-capital-of-europe-1.3097931

Blindfolded Irish horse killed after suffering horrific injuries

14 Jul

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A blindfolded Irish horse has suffered horrific fatal injuries after running loose at a race in Brighton.

The horse, named Just Marion, was blindfolded while being loaded into the starting stalls at Brighton Racecourse on Monday (12th June) and was seen leaving the stalls riderless and with the blindfold still covering her head.

“As she ran blind, chasing on the heels of the other runners, she collided with the running rails,” Animal Aid has reported. “As the group turned the bend towards the finish, she continued in a straight trajectory crashing through the stand side rails. This resulted in her receiving horrendous injuries – comprising multiple fractures. She could not be saved and was destroyed at Arundel Equine Hospital.”

According to PaulickReport.com, “She was loaded into the starting gate with a blindfold, which apprentice jockey Louis Steward was supposed to remove at the start of the race. Instead, Just Marion stumbled leaving the gates, unseating Steward, and ran loose around the course while unable to see. The filly suffered numerous fractures and had to be euthanized as a result of her injuries.”

While the Racing Post referred to the incident as “added drama for racegoers”, trainer Clare Ellam described it as “horrific”. “It was like she had been involved in a car crash,” she was later quoted as saying. “She had run into concrete fencing and had multiple fractures to her head and lacerations. There was nothing they could do to save her. I was absolutely dedicated to her…She was the loveliest mare to have around and will never get the chance to show everyone how good she was.”

5-year-old Just Marion is the 47th Irish horse to die on British racecourses since the beginning of this year. And the deaths are continuing. The day after Just Marion was killed, another two Irish horses died. Palomas Prince (Pulled Up – Fatally Injured) and Insight (Fell – Injured – Destroyed) lost their lives during races at Southwell on Tuesday.

On its Race Horse Death Watch website http://www.horsedeathwatch.com, Animal Aid has documented over 1,550 deaths at UK tracks in the past decade. These are on-course fatality figures and do not include the horses killed due to training injuries or the horses destroyed when they are “judged to be no longer financially viable”. Last year, 76 Irish horses died or were destroyed at UK tracks.