Saturday 17 August 2019

Irish Greyhound Board 'condemn the deplorable actions' shown in last nights RTE Investigates programme

It is 21 years since the Gold Cup was introduced to the Irish greyhound calendar and it has been firmly established as one of the true major events of the year. (stock photo)
It is 21 years since the Gold Cup was introduced to the Irish greyhound calendar and it has been firmly established as one of the true major events of the year. (stock photo)

Callum Lavery

The Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) has spoken out against the actions depicted in last night's RTE Investigates documentary.

RTÉ Investigates: Greyhounds, Running for Their Lives showed almost 6,000 underperforming greyhounds being killed in this country every year for not being fast enough, with some dogs being shot for as little as €10.

The documentary 'Grevealed how half of the 30 licensed Irish knackeries contacted said they'd be willing to kill greyhounds for as little as €10 to €35 each.

Since the documentary aired, the IGB has spoken out against such actions, stating that they fully support measures put in place to regulate the safety and welfare of Irish greyhounds.

"We completely condemn the deplorable actions towards greyhounds highlighted in the RTE broadcast. As a result of the newly signed Greyhound Racing Act 2019, the industry now has an opportunity to further progress and modernise," said Chairman of the IGB, Frank Nyhan.

"When the Act is in full effect, it will add to existing legislation and ensure that the racing greyhound is the most regulated of all canine breeds in Ireland. The IGB is fully supportive of these measures.”

An investigation into the industry, which received €16.8m in Government funding this year, reported that 16,000 greyhounds are born in this country each year.

According to a business analysis report from 2017, which was commissioned by the Irish Greyhound Board, some 5,987 of these are killed because they fail to make qualification times or their performance declines.

CEO of the IGB, Gerald Dollard, said that anyone who knowingly harms a greyhound "brings shame" upon the entire racing industry.

"Any person who knowingly harms a greyhound brings shame upon our industry. The IGB will continue to investigate any matters brought to its attention.

"Any situations where it is alleged a breach of the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 has occurred should be brought to the attention of the IGB.

"Thousands of greyhound owners across the country treat their dogs impeccably before, during and after their racing life. The IGB’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022 continues to target the ultimate aim of total rehoming of retired racing greyhounds," he claimed.

'RTÉ Investigates' laid bare the massive over-breeding in the industry as it reported it is estimated that 1,000pc more dogs are bred each year than are needed to sustain the industry.

In a statement to Independent.ie a spokesperson said the documentary had been a huge success.

"RTÉ have had a very strong response to the programme from the public, with many acknowledging the importance of such investigative journalism in Ireland.

"Last night's RTÉ Investigates documentary saw 479,000 people tune in to the harrowing programme at some point, with a quarter of a million viewers on average watching the full programme across both RTÉ One and +1.

"It is currently one of the most popular programmes on the RTÉ Player.

RTÉ fully stands over the programme which was many months in the making and involved extensive research, data analysis, requests under the Freedom of Information Act, along with undercover filming and recordings."

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