Campaign group welcomes legislation to end guaranteed funding for greyhound racingPadraig Conlon 16 Nov 2022
Greyhound Action Ireland (GRI) say they welcome the publication of a Private Member’s Bill which would remove the legislative guarantee of state funding for the Irish greyhound industry.
The Decoupling Bill introduced this week by Deputy Neasa Hourigan of the Green Party if passed would end the state subsidisation of the greyhound industry.
“While this bill won’t bring an immediate end to the public funding of greyhound racing, it will force the greyhound board to justify the annual handover of tens of millions of euros,” says GRI spokesperson Nuala Donlon.
“The serious animal welfare abuses which continue to plague this activity, allied to the fact that economically the industry is a complete basket case, will make it very difficult for Rasaiocht Con Eireann to justify continued state funding.”
GRI also say the on-going concerns about animal welfare centre mainly on the following practices:
- The continued over-breeding of dogs, which results in thousands going unaccounted for each year because they don’t make the time necessary to be raced.
- The death and injury of thousands more while they are racing on the track and during official and unofficial trials.
- The widespread use of prohibited substances, including cocaine, to influence the performance of dogs.
- The continued export of Irish dogs to third countries, some of which have zero animal protection laws.
Greyhound Action Ireland also argue that the statistics which were published in the industry-commissioned Jim Power economics Report on the economic significance of the greyhound industry in 2019 revealed that:
- Average attendance at race meetings down 28 percent;
- Number of trainers down 26 percent;
- Employment through betting down 35 percent;
- Direct and indirect employment down 18 percent;
- The economic value of that employment down 17 percent.
“More recent information on attendance provided via answers to Dail Questions has revealed that less than half those attending race meetings in GRI-owned stadia for the first five months of this year were paying members of the public,” GRI said in a statement.
“The majority of those in attendance were industry insiders such as owners, trainers and bookmakers. The figures were even worse for last year, when only 30% of those attending greyhound tracks were ordinary punters.”
“The state funding of the greyhound industry is a text book case of throwing good money after bad,” concluded Ms. Donlon.
“Using this money to fund essential state services, rather than funding the over-breeding and killing of dogs, would be welcomed by the vast majority of Irish people, something that was very clear in the results of a Red C poll carried out on the subject in 2019.”