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Friday 19 July 2019

Bookmaker silent over greyhound sponsorship

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Allison Bray

A major sponsor of greyhound racing said it would continue to "engage" with the sport's governing body, but would not say if it planned to remain a sponsor of the industry in the future.

Bookmaker BoyleSports last night refused to be drawn on whether it would continue to be a major advertiser at greyhound races after two sponsors pulled out following a shocking 'RTÉ Investigates' documentary last week.

The documentary revealed how about 6,000 under-performing greyhounds are culled each year due to over-breeding.

In one shocking scene in the undercover film, a dog was led away before being shot in the back of the head at a knackery.

The bookie previously said it was "appalled at the revelations in RTÉ's programme".

But when asked last night if BoyleSports would cease its sponsorship in light of the revelations, a spokesman said: "The welfare of greyhounds and the sustainable development of the industry is the prime concern of most participants in the sector, and it is unfortunate that the actions of a number of individuals should mar the sector as a whole.

"BoyleSports is engaging with the Irish Greyhound Board on the future development of the sector to ensure the safeguarding of greyhounds and the future of Irish greyhound racing."

However, the spokesman would not say categorically if the company's sponsorship would cease or continue.

Meanwhile, the manufacturer of Barry's Tea announced it has withdrawn its sponsorship of the annual greyhound race in Cork following the revelations aired on the programme.

"We were saddened and horrified by the recent revelations of the 'RTÉ Investigates' programme, which raised concerns over the treatment of dogs within the greyhound industry in Ireland," Barry's Tea said in a statement.

"On reflection, we have decided to withdraw our local sponsorship of the annual race in Curraheen Park, Cork."

It is the second company to withdraw sponsorship. FBD Insurance also withdrew its sponsorship this week.

"Our only sponsorship of greyhound racing was a small sponsorship arrangement with Kilkenny Greyhound Stadium. Following the recent 'RTÉ Investigates' programme, FBD has decided not to renew this," the company said.

"We look forward to the implementation of urgently needed animal welfare measures by the Government," it added.

The Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) thanked Barry's Tea for its sponsorship, adding that the "welfare of greyhounds remains a priority for IGB and we will continue to build on reforms within the sector over the last number of years".

Irish Independent

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