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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)

4:00 pm

Photo of Michelle MulherinMichelle Mulherin (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I welcome all the witnesses to today's meeting. Their input has been very important to the pre-legislation scrutiny of the general scheme of the greyhound industry Bill. From my work with animal welfare groups, I know the witnesses deal with greyhounds which is the worst side of the industry. From the discussion, I am aware that many people who breed greyhounds care for their animals and treat them very well. I have no involvement in the industry but I know a few people who own greyhounds who consider their dogs very precious. It is important that point is made.

It is very important that issues are highlighted and the role of advocacy, which the animal welfare groups engage in, serves to make it more socially unacceptable and shameful for people whose mindset is to neglect and abuse animals. We do not want that sort of society and we strive constantly to root out that behaviour but it is a major problem across the board in respect of dogs and other animals. It is a cost to society. It is desirable that we have a proper regime.

Issues have been teased out but notwithstanding reservations about where the industry is at, I understand the witnesses are happy that the Legislature is trying to address issues of animal welfare and work towards that goal. People have a passion for this sport, aside from making money from it.

The witnesses have addressed the importance of social media in highlighting issues. To what extent does social media and people witnessing cruelty at sporting events play a part in achieving prosecutions and convictions? Events are posted on social media, but I wonder if these gruesome images are churned around or does anything come of it? Is there a correlation between these images on social media and the prosecution of an offender? The witnesses have raised concerns about the treatment of animals but how often is this resulting in catching people who are dong wrong to animals?

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