Greyhound racing in Ireland turned from a national tradition to a national disgrace in 60 minutes last week.
The RTE Investigates tv programme (caution: graphic images) revealed the dark side of greyhound racing in Ireland when it presented a report the Irish Greyhound Board had commissioned and kept secret since 2017 because it was considered commercially sensitive. The programme showed that 6,000 greyhounds are culled per annum. The reasons for the cull were broken down into: “those who failed to produce qualifying times” (2,673); “failure to produce desired entry level times” (1,989) and an “unacceptable decline in performance” (1,326).
Irish Greyhound Board is a semi-state body and receives an annual government subsidy to the tune of €16.8m. An Irish Examiner article sets the issue out in very clear terms: In Ireland “sick children don’t benefit from ring-fenced taxation. Neither do people with mental health challenges, nor elderly people, nor homeless people. Nobody does, in fact, except horses and greyhounds”.
The report behind the RTE programme revealed how greyhounds are sold to the UK at 50% of the cost of producing the greyhound puppies. This means the Irish taxpayer is subsidising the ‘product’ being sold to the UK at a loss. Thereby making the ‘cheap product’ affordable to the UK customers. Surely when the prices go up to remedy the Irish losses, the UK clients will feel the pinch.
The atrocities shown in the RTE programme brought Irish people out onto the streets to demonstrate outside local tracks. It catalysed a torrent of letters, tweets and emails complaining to Irish Government officials. The heart rending footage led to discussions in the Irish Parliament, a petition calling for government subsidies to be discontinued and moved Barry’s Tea, Treacy’s Hotel, FBD Insurance and Connolly’s RED MILLS (a leading manufacturer of animal feed products in Ireland) to withdraw from sponsorship agreements. Others may follow.
Although horrific, this has to be a major step in the demise of greyhound racing.
Join campaigners in demanding an end to the Irish Government’s massive grants to the greyhound industry – €16.8 million for 2019, bringing to around a quarter of a billion euros the amount handed over since 2001. This must be ended. Contact Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe now.
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
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Paschal Donohoe TD
Minister for Finance
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