Ricky Gervais calls for ban on Irish greyhound exports to China over 'certain death' of dogs sold to race
Ricky Gervais has called for a ban on the sale of Irish greyhounds to China, saying "every dog sent to Macau will die there".
The comedian and animal welfare supporter issued a plea to the Irish Government on Saturday night to ban any further exports of the animal.
This comes after Irish greyhounds were stopped in Britain en route to China this week and returned to Ireland.
Speaking to the Irish Mail on Sunday, the actor urged the Government to act now and ban the trade.
"The Irish Government should immediately ban the export of Irish dogs to China, which is internationally renowned for its barbaric treatment of animals," he said.
"The annual June meat festival, Yulin, near Macau, where dogs are skinned alive before being cooked, should tell the Irish Department of Agriculture everything they need to know about the horrific fate of dogs in China.
"If they are unconcerned about the agony that awaits these innocent animals then the Irish Government will pay the price in terms of damage to its international reputation."
The 54-year-old said that if the Government does not put an immediate ban in place, Ireland will be viewed worldwide as a "country which cares little about animal welfare or animal suffering".
Shipping crates containing 24 Irish greyhounds bound for China where turned away from London's Heathrow Airport on Thursday.
Staff at the airport claimed the crates were in bad condition and not fit for transport.
The dogs were destined for the notorious Canidrome stadium in Macau, one of the world's cruelest racing tracks where 30 dogs a month die.
Activists say nearly 400 young and healthy greyhounds are put down every year after running four times a week on Asia’s only racing track, which is considered dangerous and unsafe for animals.
Albano Martins, president of Anima – the Society for the Protection of Animals (Macau) – claims that dogs as young as two or three years old are killed if they not “profitable”.
He told the China Morning Post that dogs are killed if they are ill, injured or if they fail to place in the top three in five consecutive races
Animal charities in Ireland have already made their feelings known to the Irish government who fund the Greyhound Board.
They have highlighted that several countries refuse to sell greyhounds to China over fears that slow dogs will be put down and even eaten.
The Dog's Trust issued a statement on their website calling for a ban.
The statement reads: "Dogs Trust, The ISPCA and The Irish Blue Cross are totally opposed to the export of greyhounds to China’s only legal Greyhound track the Yat Yuen Canidrome, which has a deplorable welfare record.
"We consider such exports to be ill-advised and a massive step backwards in achieving a well regulated and safe environment for greyhounds both in Ireland and elsewhere in the world.
"We once again strongly call on the IGB, The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and airline carriers to put and end to this deplorable trade in misery."
Activists from the US, Australia and Europe are expected to demonstrate outside the Department of Agriculture next month to highlight the cruel trade.