Letter: Greyhound racing is cruel

30 Mar

Greyhound racing is cruel and for the majority of the dogs, their fate is death either at home or abroad – Read Mary C Fitzpatrick’s Letter to the Editor in today’s Irish Times…

Greyhounds – racing for their lives?
Irish Times, 19 March 2018

Sir, – Gerard Dollard, chief executive of the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB), has stated its motto is, “We love our greyhounds and we care for them” (“Greyhound board investing €12 million to upgrade stadium and develop sport”, News, March 12th).

It is difficult to correlate this assertion with the life of the average greyhound. From 2010 to 2016, approximately 120,126 greyhounds were born in Ireland. Some 108,372 were formally named at the racing age of 13 months . These figures are calculated using the 20,021 registered litters allowing an average of six pups per litter, but the litters can often be eight or 10 pups. What happens the thousands of pups that didn’t make the grade?

For the ones that go on to race, generally around four or five years old they are regarded as too slow. Every year thousands are “retired”, which is an euphemism for a far different reality. They are known as the “disappeared dogs”, either put down, exported from Ireland often, via the UK or Europe, but far too many end up in China, Pakistan and Spain, where they are subjected to a most cruel and barbaric end. Rescue centres work tirelessly to give these dogs a lifeline, but due to lack of funds, spaces and homes, sadly only hundreds not thousands are saved and rehomed, usually abroad. For the remaining thousands, their lives are cut short far too soon.

Since 2010, the IGB has received €99.6 million in State funding, but contrast that amount to the funds allocated to their programme for retired greyhounds. In 2015, the IGB received €13.6 million, yet the fund for retired greyhounds received €225,000. It is ironic that the dogs who generate so much money for the industry appear to be of so little consequence when their days at done at the tracks.

I hope that the falloff in numbers attending the greyhound tracks is attributable to the recognition and awareness of people that greyhound racing is cruel.

When they are no longer fit for purpose, for the majority of these dogs, their fate is death either at home or abroad. These loyal hounds synonymous with our Celtic history deserve better. – Yours, etc,

MARY C FITZPATRICK,
Bishopstown,
Cork.

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/greyhounds-racing-for-their-lives-1.3431560

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At least 2,649 greyhounds destroyed in Irish pounds since 2010

29 Mar

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At least 2,649 greyhounds have been destroyed in Irish pounds in the past eight years, shocking statistics reveal. The dogs are just some of the many victims of the cruel greyhound industry.

The local authority dog pound stats show that since 2010, 3,130 greyhounds were surrendered to pounds around the country and 2,649 of these were destroyed.

According to the latest available figures for 2016, 284 “stray and unwanted greyhounds” ended up in pounds during the year. This includes 234 greyhounds surrendered by owners, 46 strays and 4 seized greyhounds. Fifteen of these were reclaimed or rehomed, 115 were transferred to dog welfare groups and the remaining 152 didn’t make it out alive.

The greyhound pound death rate has been falling since 2010 when 672 were euthanised but this is most likely due to the fact that most of the pounds no longer accept greyhounds for euthanasia.

According to the Greyhound Rescue Association of Ireland, “the decline in greyhounds accepted into dog pounds…raises further concerns of what is actually happening to those greyhounds turned away. The decline does not balance with any raised homing figures – far from it.”

“There are still huge concerns that hundreds of greyhounds are being destroyed in dog pounds, and there is documented evidence to show that perfectly healthy greyhounds are among those abandoned with very little chance of escaping death,” the association adds.

Commenting on the killing of greyhounds when they are no longer considered good enough to win, celebrity vet, Pete Wedderburn last year wrote: “There’s a strong argument that the State should not be subsidising the greyhound racing industry in this way, nor should the concept of ‘euthanasia at the end of usefulness’ be supported. This urgently needs be addressed.”

In addition to the 152 greyhounds destroyed in Irish pounds in 2016, 1,522 other dogs (lurchers and other breeds) were killed.

The greyhounds being killed in pounds represent just a small portion of the greyhound industry’s victims. In the past three years alone, over a thousand greyhounds suffered injuries at tracks around Ireland and 385 were destroyed by track vets. In addition, thousands of greyhounds go missing each year, presumed killed when found to be too slow to win races. One Irish trainer remarked online: “I’ve seen dogs being shot. It has to be done as there’s too many of them to rehome.” A former chairman of the Irish Greyhound Board meanwhile admitted on Cork’s 96 FM that he believes it is “absolutely” okay for thousands of dogs to be killed and that racing couldn’t exist without the destruction of dogs.

ACTION ALERT

Say NO to the greyhound industry – don’t attend races or fund-raisers held at greyhound tracks (these are a significant source of funding for the greyhound industry). Distribute our “6 reasons to say NO to greyhound racing” leaflet outside greyhound tracks to encourage people to show compassion and boycott greyhound racing. You can download the leaflet at http://www.banbloodsports.com/ln170616.htm or order copies by emailing info@banbloodsports.com

The cruel and crumbling greyhound industry has received nearly a quarter of a billion euros of taxpayers’ money since 2001 (including €16 million for 2018). Urge Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to end funding to the greyhound industry and instead direct the money to charities and other deserving causes. Email “Stop funding the cruel greyhound industry” to taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie, paschal.donohoe@oireachtas.ie, minister@per.gov.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
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/campaignforleo/

Paschal Donohoe TD
Minister for Finance
Email: paschal.donohoe@oireachtas.ie, minister@per.gov.ie
Phone: +353 (0)1 6045810
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaschalDonohoe/
Tweet to @Paschald

Please sign and share our petition
Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry
https://www.change.org/p/irish-government-stop-giving-millions-of-euro-to-cruel-greyhound-industry

 

Greyhounds destroyed at Irish dog pounds

2016 – 152
2015 – 203
2014 – 245
2013 – 427
2012 – 404
2011 – 546
2010 – 672

 

Greyhound injuries and deaths at Irish tracks

2017
Injuries: 357. Deaths: 124

2016
Injuries: 427. Deaths: 139

2015
Injuries: 422. Deaths: 122

Massive grants for coursing and greyhound racing venues

21 Mar
There are renewed calls for an end to the government’s funding of horse and greyhound racing after details emerged about a hare coursing venue receiving a €300,000 grant.
 
Clonmel Horse Racing Course (also known as Powerstown Park) – which shamefully hosts the annual hare coursing finals – has received the major cash injection from taxpayer-funded Horse Racing Ireland.
 
Details about the “Racecourse Capital Development Grant” were published on the website of Horse Racing Ireland – a body which has received €900 million of taxpayers’ money since 2001, including €64 million in 2017 and another €64 million for 2018.
 
In a statement, its CEO has said that HRI is “delighted to be announcing approval of these capital development grants and that “racegoers and those working in the industry will benefit from the enhanced facilities”.
 
The €300,000 grant for Clonmel Racecourse will go towards “a new weigh room building [which] will accommodate facilities for jockeys, valets, racing officials and stewards, as well as medical rooms”.
 
Quoted on the HRI website, Clonmel Racecourse Manager DJ Histon – who also happens to be the CEO of the Irish Coursing Club – welcomed the funding, saying the new building “will provide a significant upgrade on the current building for this important industry facility”.
 
Powerstown Park is home to the cruel hare coursing finals every year. Hares are released at one end of the venue and can be seen running for their lives ahead of pairs of greyhounds. Last year, RTE captured sickening footage of a hare being severely hit and mauled into the ground there – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUkFXFSYn7I. Observers at this year’s meeting also witnessed hares being hit by the dogs as a merciless mob in a grandstand cheered.
 
Also receiving substantial sums from Horse Racing Ireland were Bellewstown racecourse and Dundalk Stadium.
 
Dundalk Stadium which describes itself as “the world’s only dual purpose horse and greyhound track” is one of the worst tracks in Ireland for greyhound injuries. According to Irish Greyhound Board statistics obtained by Clare Daly TD, 44 greyhounds suffered injuries at the track last year, with 10 of these destroyed by a track vet.
 
Dundalk stadium is also a supporter of cruel hare coursing, having hosted “benefit nights” for a local coursing club.
 
The stadium is to receive a massive €252,000 grant from Horse Racing Ireland. This will be used to pay for “a new dedicated horse owners’ and trainers’ facility, and the upgrading of television sets around the racecourse, including within the main panoramic dining restaurant”.
 
Stadium CEO Jim Martin expressed his excitement at the funding – “We are excited to make strides to afford owners and trainers a dedicated facility to which they can enjoy fantastic views of the parade ring and top class hospitality at Dundalk…We are grateful to Horse Racing Ireland for their support and look forward to works commencing.”
 
How utterly obscene that in the midst of housing and health crises, with people languishing on trolleys and dying on the streets, our government sees fit to channel millions of euros of public money into providing enhanced facilities for jockeys and racegoers.
ACTION ALERT

Please join us in a renewed appeal to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to stop funding the horse and greyhound industries and redirect the money to the many worthy causes crying out for support. Email taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie, paschal.donohoe@oireachtas.ie, minister@per.gov.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
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/campaignforleo/
 
Please sign and share our petition
Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry

“A shortage of entries”: Greyhound auction CANCELLED

18 Mar

A greyhound auction due to take place this month at Cork’s Curraheen Park track has been cancelled “due to a shortage of entries”.

A “CURRAHEEN PARK SALES NOT GOING AHEAD” notice on the Irish Greyhound Board website states: “The sales scheduled for Saturday 24th March at Curraheen Park have unfortunately been cancelled due to a shortage of entries.”

The sales were to be part of an Irish Greyhound Board “Let’s Get Racing 2018” campaign to “encourage syndicates in greyhound ownership”.

In its recently published “Strategic Plan 2018-2022”, the IGB acknowledges the “falling numbers of breeders, owners and trainers” and outlines a plan to “promote syndication…with the key goal of introducing greyhound ownership to a wider/younger audience”.

The shortage which led to the cancellation of the Curraheen Park sales could be linked to a drop in the number of greyhounds being bred for racing in Ireland. As reported by ICABS in January, the number has fallen to “the lowest since the early days of the sport”.

According to greyhound racing website, Greyhound Star, “breeding numbers have fallen by almost exactly 50% in 15 years” and the decline is accelerating with “matings for 2017 down a massive 9%”.

“The bad news is that it is almost – bar a slight anomaly in 2013/14 – the seventh consecutive year of decline, meaning breeding numbers have fallen by almost exactly 50% in 15 years,” Greyhound Star outlined, adding that many breeders have “already given up” and that “there seems negligible chance of any resurgence in Irish breeding any time soon.”

These latest breeding numbers mirror similar figures showing that greyhound owners are abandoning the dying greyhound industry in their thousands.

In response to a Dail Question from ICABS President, Maureen O’Sullivan TD, the Irish Greyhound Board confirmed last year that the number of active owners of racing greyhounds has plummeted by nearly 50 per cent in the past decade. Information supplied to Deputy O’Sullivan by the IGB shows a major exodus from the industry – there were 7,265 fewer owners of racing greyhounds in 2015 than in 2007. The numbers fell every year from 14,869 in 2007 to 7,604 in 2015.

In other greyhound racing news, racing has been cancelled at Galway track this Saturday due to unspecified “operational reasons”.

ACTION ALERT

Don’t attend greyhound races or fund-raisers held at greyhound tracks (these are a significant source of funding for the greyhound industry). Distribute our “6 reasons to say NO to greyhound racing” leaflet outside greyhound tracks to encourage people to show compassion and boycott greyhound racing. You can download the leaflet at http://www.banbloodsports.com/ln170616.htm or order copies by emailing info@banbloodsports.com

The cruel and crumbling greyhound industry has received nearly a quarter of a billion euros of taxpayers’ money since 2001 (including €16 million for 2018). Urge Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to end funding to the greyhound industry and instead direct the money to charities and other deserving causes. Email “Stop funding the cruel greyhound industry” to taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie, paschal.donohoe@oireachtas.ie, minister@per.gov.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
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/campaignforleo/

Paschal Donohoe TD
Minister for Finance
Email: paschal.donohoe@oireachtas.ie, minister@per.gov.ie
Phone: +353 (0)1 6045810
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaschalDonohoe/
Tweet to @Paschald

Please sign and share our petition
Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry
https://www.change.org/p/irish-government-stop-giving-millions-of-euro-to-cruel-greyhound-industry

Radisson Blu Hotel urged to stop hosting hare coursing awards

18 Mar

Radisson Blu coursing awards 2018

The Radisson Blu Hotel in Limerick is being urged to cancel its hosting of a hare coursing function next month.

The “Irish Coursing Club Awards” are due to take place at the hotel on April 14th.

The hotel has ignored a previous Irish Council Against Blood Sports appeal for it to stop hosting coursing-related events.

In 2015, we expressed disappointment to Radisson Blu Limerick management after the hotel wished “good luck” to hare coursers. In a Radisson tweet, it was stated: “Tonight we host the ICC [Irish Coursing Club] awards #goodluck #enjoy.”

The Irish Coursing Club’s awards take place following a season of suffering for hares. The animals are snatched from the wild in nets, kept in captivity for months and forced to run for their lives in front of dogs. The hares caught and mauled by the dogs sustain painful injuries and every coursing season, hare deaths are documented. Hares who survive the ordeal are at risk of later dying from stress-related capture myopathy.

Video footage captured by ICABS during the past season shows hares being mauled into the ground and knocked head over heels – see our Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/icabs

“Hare coursing is one of Ireland’s worst forms of animal cruelty. The Radisson Blu Limerick should not be hosting a coursing awards function,” ICABS has stated in a message to the hotel chain. “Please show compassion for Irish wildlife and cancel this event at your hotel.”

ACTION ALERT

Urge the Radisson Blu to stop hosting hare coursing events.

Radisson Blu Hotel Limerick
Ennis Road, Limerick, Ireland
Tel: (+353) 61 456200
Email: sales.limerick@radissonblu.com, geraldine.mccarthy@radissonblu.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/radissonblu/community/?ref=page_internal
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RadissonBlu https://twitter.com/RadissonBluLime

 

Actor Peter Egan pushing for ban on Ireland’s cruel bloodsports

11 Mar

zPeter Egan

Downton Abbey actor and animal rights advocate Peter Egan is pushing for a ban on Ireland’s cruel bloodsports.

Peter, who played Hugh ‘Shrimpie’ MacClare in the hit drama, and appeared in movies such as Chariots of Fire and Death at a Funeral, is this month encouraging his 42,300 followers on Twitter to sign a petition which urges the Irish Government to outlaw cruel hare coursing, fox hunting and digging-out/terrierwork https://twitter.com/PeterEgan6/status/964418488570793990

The petition set up by the Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports states: “Please tell our government to outlaw, as a matter of urgency, a number of extremely cruel practices that make life a living hell on earth for animals in Ireland. Three of the worst practises are 1) Fox hunting, 2) Hare coursing, and 3) possibly the worst obscenity, the use of half-starved terriers and cross-bred dogs in ‘unearthing’ foxes that seek refuge underground from pursuing hounds and hunt followers.”

Peter previously signed this petition, as well as one calling on the Irish Government to end the export of greyhounds to China, a country where dogs are boiled alive.

Please join Peter in signing and sharing the petitions:

Ireland’s Agriculture Minister: Please Ban Extremely cruel practices under Animal Welfare Law
https://www.change.org/p/ireland-s-agriculture-minister-please-ban-extremely-cruel-practices-under-animal-welfare-law

Stop export of Irish greyhounds to their deaths in China
https://www.change.org/p/prime-minster-taoiseach-enda-kenny-stop-export-of-irish-greyhounds-to-china

Baby hare rescued at snowy Dublin Airport

10 Mar

A baby “beast from the east” has been saved from certain death after compassionate staff at Dublin Airport hopped in to action.

A heart-warming video posted on the @DublinAirport twitter feed shows the deep snow operation unfolding – “A special rescue this morning by one of our Airport Police. This little fella was taken to safety & given food and heat. We’re happy to report he’s safe and well.” https://twitter.com/DublinAirport/status/969939400430899200

The video, which has already been viewed over 200,000 times in the past 24 hours, was later followed by an update tweet stating: “Hareport News: the rescued baby hare is getting some TLC with our colleague who found it & his family. He’s a she, they’ve called her Emma & will release her back into the wild when she’s back to full health.”

Well done to the staff member at Dublin Airport for this wonderful act of kindness. Hares are one of Ireland’s most loved and cherished wild creatures and are deserving of every protection.

What a pity that our politicians do not share this sense of duty to protect hares from harm. Every year, the Minister for “Culture and Heritage” issues a licence which allows coursing clubs to net thousands of hares from the wild for use as live lures for greyhounds to chase. In 2016, 114 TDs (including current Taoiseach/Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney) crowded into Dail Eireann to betray the Irish Hare and vote to ensure that hare coursing – one of Ireland’s worst acts of cruelty to animals – continues.

Leverets like the one saved at Dublin Airport are among the victims of coursing.

According to a National Parks and Wildlife Service document obtained by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports under the Freedom of Information Act, five leverets were born in the “escape” area of the Glin coursing compound last season. The baby hares were spotted by wildlife rangers among the hares captured for a coursing meeting held at the beginning of October. The NPWS report says that the rangers were unable to identify the mothers of the leverets and so they “organised care for and release of the 5 leverets” It goes on to add that leverets were also discovered “at an early Kerry club meeting”.

There are not only fears for the welfare of leverets born in captivity but also for those left orphaned in the wild when their mothers are cruelly netted for coursing. These vulnerable, dependent creatures are almost certainly doomed to die without their mothers.

This is not the first times that leverets have been born in captivity. For example, it was noted by a National Parks ranger, who monitored a meeting in Tubbercurry in December 2016 that there were three pregnant hares in the coursing compound, one of which gave birth to two leverets.

The idea of pregnant hares and leverets – or indeed any hares – in a coursing compound is truly appalling. These animals should all be in the wild where they belong, not in a bloodsport venue to be used as live bait for dogs in a grotesque activity that should have been banned decades ago.

ACTION ALERT

Watch the latest video evidence of hare coursing cruelty (filmed last month) – https://www.facebook.com/banbloodsports/videos/1596636050451947/ – and join calls on Minister Josepha Madigan to stop licensing coursing

Josepha Madigan TD
Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht
Phone: +353 (0)1 631 3800
Email: josepha.madigan@oireachtas.ie
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://facebook.com/JosephaMadiganFG
Tweet to: @josephamadigan

Contact Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and urge him to ban hare coursing and give permanent protection to hares.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/campaignforleo/

Contact your local TDs and urge them to push for a ban on hare coursing and all blood sports. Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses http://www.oireachtas.ie/members-hist/default.asp?housetype=0&HouseNum=32&disp=mem

Please sign and share the petitions.

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland Now
https://www.change.org/petitions/ban-blood-sports-in-ireland

Ireland: Ban cruel hare coursing
https://www.change.org/p/ireland-ban-cruel-hare-coursing