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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 Kevin O'KeeffeKevin O'Keeffe (Cork East, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Chairman for allowing me to speak, although I am not a member of this committee. I am supportive of the greyhound sector both in coursing and at greyhound tracks. I fully respect the views and concerns of the two deputations present. I commend their good work in ensuring the welfare of dogs, particularly abandoned animals.

What is the percentage of greyhounds in various dog pounds throughout the country? Are dog pounds full of greyhounds or are there all breeds of dog there? We are scrutinising the legislation and hopefully we will be able to regulate those involved in coursing and at tracks. However, nobody seems to want to regulate those involved in lurching at dawn and dusk in the countryside. Nothing is said about lurchers, which seem to disappear. Those are the people who are clearing our countryside of invaluable hare species. We should discuss the welfare of those dogs because no one is currently watching them.

We are a nation of exporters, including the agricultural and drinks industries. We also produce good dogs so the issue is whether we should provide more controls and regulation over which countries we export them to. I have to laugh because people have given out about some countries to which dogs are exported, yet we have no problem with, or complaints about, doing deals with them in other business sectors. Surely, therefore, what is good for one sector is good for another.

I agree that it is a problem but things have come a long way with drug testing of coursing dogs. I understand that the coursing federation has its samples sent abroad to an independent laboratory for analysis. In case somebody might think there is a quick fix, in fairness there is not.

We got adverse publicity from the RTE programme but, following Deputy Penrose's question, I would like to know what percentage of greyhounds are currently in dog pounds.

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