Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
896. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if funds will be reallocated from the Irish Greyhound Board to animal welfare charities; if not, if such charities will be supported through other means (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6467/20]
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.
The welfare of greyhounds remains a priority for Bord na gCon and is a key consideration during the suspension of racing activity. From 24th March 2020, Bord na gCon has implemented a Covid-19 greyhound care payments scheme costing approximately €357,000 per month. Since the cessation of racing and the absence of any other income, Bord na gCon is solely reliant on the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund for its operational costs.
Animal welfare charities do invaluable work, which the State could never replicate, by virtue of their voluntary nature. My Department will give careful consideration to how we will support these charities in future, given the challenges they are facing and the loss of voluntary support because of the lockdown. We have provided advice to them regarding the care of animals and livestock, which includes the care of companion animals etc. I appreciate, however, that this is an area that will require ongoing vigilance.