Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Bord na gCon
372. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Irish Greyhound Board is attempting to hide incidents involving dogs falling and suffering injuries by withholding race footage from its website (details supplied); if he will direct it to publish the footage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49005/19]
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 is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Bord na gCon have informed the Department that, although it broadcasts all races at Bord na gCon licensed stadia, there is no regulatory or legislative requirement on Bord na gCon to make all racing footage available on its website.
Bord na gCon collates figures relating to the injuries of greyhounds at all 16 licensed stadia, as well as statistics relating to greyhounds put to sleep. Any greyhound injured or put to sleep at a track is included in these figures. These are published on a regular basis.
Bord na gCon have reiterated that greyhound injuries at stadia are rare. Bord na gCon control stewards carry out a track inspection prior to all race meetings and trial sessions. The track vet attends all race meetings and sales trials to ensure that appropriate care is provided to injured greyhounds and to advise the stewards on welfare.
In August 2019, Bord na gCon launched a greyhound injury support scheme to provide financial assistance to owners to aid injured greyhounds to continue with a healthy life. The introduction of the “Injuries at Tracks Recovery Scheme” is open to all owners and trainers who have incurred veterinary costs in the treatment of greyhounds to repair a career-ending orthopaedic (bone) injury sustained at an IGB licenced stadium. Applications are assessed on the basis that the greyhound will immediately retire from competitive action (trials and races) following its treatment.
A number of improvements to various stadia, including track improvements, the installation of new hare rails and the purchase of new equipment, have been made in recent times. Bord na gCon emphasises that the very best veterinary care and advice is provided to greyhounds injured at stadia at all times.