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)
At the outset, I apologise for having to leave but I had to attend another meeting. I was keeping a watchful eye on what was going on here. I thank the witnesses for their attendance and I appreciate the opportunity to say a few words. I appreciate the concerns that have been raised. However, the people I know - and I do not even like to use the term "who are involved in the industry" - are people who love their greyhounds. They love what they do and take care of their dogs. There are genuinely committed people, not blackguards. They would not inflict cruelty on their animals. I am sure the witnesses respect that fact also.
Most farmers are kind to their animals, including sheep, horses and cows. Of course, one may get a rogue person who will not take care of his or her animals or even his or her\ family, but one cannot paint everyone with the same brush. The people I know who train greyhounds for coursing and racing are kind, committed and steeped in the tradition of the sport they are involved in. I am glad to know plenty of middle-aged and older people who have children and grandchildren with an interest in dogs. They will be participating in this sport. I do not call it an industry. They will continue doing so because they like their dogs and the sport involved. That important point should be acknowledged here today.
We all have differing views on the Irish Greyhound Board but I am talking about the people who own greyhounds. As far as I am concerned, they are good people who do their best at all times.