Thursday, 9 May 2019
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
38. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to reports (details supplied) that at least 40 Irish and UK born and trained greyhounds are allegedly being kept in poor conditions for breeding in China; the resources he will make available for the repatriation of Irish greyhounds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19047/19]
I am aware of reports on the export of Irish greyhounds to other jurisdictions. Bord na gCon is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry.
Bord na gCon has informed me that it is aware of reports suggesting cruelty to greyhounds in other jurisdictions and condemns any such practices in the strongest possible terms.
The newspaper report that the Deputy cites refers to two greyhounds by name - one of whom raced here before being exported to race in the UK and the other who was registered in Ireland but unraced here. BnG is opposed to exports to countries that do not meet Ireland’s welfare standards. BnG continues to advise owners to only export to destinations that provide the expected levels of greyhound welfare in its Code of Practice. I fully endorse this view.
It is important to note that Bord na gCon has no control of events outside the jurisdiction of Ireland and has no statutory function regarding the regulation of greyhound exports. The export of greyhounds could still continue indirectly via other countries before reaching their final destination. The World Trade Organisation does not presently envisage trade restrictions based on animal welfare concerns.
BnG has informed me that potential solutions have been discussed through the International Greyhound Welfare Forum which includes national and international welfare agencies. The movement of all dogs between EU member states is currently set on a European level. This may require any further legislative changes to be sponsored at a European level and as part of overall world trade agreements.
Any person or persons found to have been in breach of the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 have been and will continue to be referred to An Garda Síochána.