Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 2 May 2017
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine
General Scheme of the Greyhound Industry Bill 2017: Discussion (Resumed)
I thank the groups for their presentations. I will direct my first question to the council. It is clear from its presentation that it has reached the conclusion that there is no future for the greyhound racing industry and it is beyond reform. I would like to tease that out. GRAI appears to be more measured in its outlook with respect to traceability and so on. Perhaps I am wrong but GRAI's view seems to be that if strong legislation is put in place, traceability can be addressed and doping eliminated.
I am sure there is general agreement that we should ban the export of animals to countries that do not treat them humanely but we should first sort out our own practices and ensure they are humane. Is there a happy medium in terms of animal welfare? Does the council believe that greyhound racing should be banned in Ireland? Can it suggest legislative proposals that will address their concerns? I am sure decent people agree with many of its concerns. A high percentage of people in Ireland own dogs and are increasingly concerned about the welfare of dogs. It is unacceptable to have a sport that does not guarantee their welfare. I want to tease this matter out with the council.
I have a similar question for the Greyhound Rescue Association of Ireland. Have I misrepresented or misinterpreted its point of view? Does it believe there is a space for greyhound racing if we address a range of concerns, in particular accountability and traceability, and practices are put in place? Do both organisations believe there is a happy medium?