On the export of Irish greyhounds, the IGB’s development programme, and the need for new strategies to protect Irish greyhounds.
Contrary to the wishful thinking of some people about a hoped for improvement in the situation of greyhounds in Ireland, the truth is revealing itself in all its harshness.
The truth is that the racing industry – and in particular the IGB, the semi-state body that manages it – has no intention of standing by and watching profits drop, and even less of promoting any kind of serious initiative for greyhound welfare.
Two recent events are proof of this and they are deeply connected to each other, even though it will not seem so to the superficial.
The first is the announcement of a series of extra investments amounting to a total of 1.500.000 euros aimed at the support and development of all the key sectors of the industry, i.e. breeding, training, track management and education, for example.
The second event is the export of at least 9 greyhounds to Macao, home to what is considered by many to be the worst racetrack in the world, from which hardly any greyhounds come out alive.
The IGB’s answer to anyone seeking an explanation is that these are private transactions: an answer that would be laughable, were it not for the fact that it amounts to a death sentence for the dogs.
The racing industry in Ireland, as in other countries, is self regulated, in other words the IGB makes up its own rules; so what is there to stop these gentlemen from prohibiting the exportation of greyhounds to countries which lack even the slightest welfare regulations for the dogs, who are destined to die without a hope?
The truth is that the IGB, i.e. the industry, doesn’t give a damn about the dogs: their main concern is to make a profit at any cost. Through investments, an increase in exports, the spread of online betting in faraway countries such as Pakistan – another place where more than a few Irish greyhounds end their miserable lives.
Faced with this desolate outlook, what is called for is a surge in confidence on the part of all those who truly love greyhounds, in the world and in Ireland. The problem is a global one because Ireland is in the running to become – if it hasn’t already – the main exporter of greyhounds in the world. But it is also an Irish problem, and it concerns all the Irish who care about these dogs.
The facts show that it is not enough to promote greyhounds as pets, and it’s not realistic to trust in the industry’s ability to guarantee even the slightest level of welfare for the greyhounds.
The facts show that what is needed is a different approach: it is necessary to promote a greater awareness about the real situation of greyhounds in Ireland, and about the real nature of the industry and the IGB.
It is certainly a difficult path, but the only realistic one, and one can start right away by demanding that the IGB and the Irish government – which finances the racing industry – block all exports of greyhounds to countries where they are not recognised as pets, and protected as such.
If they will not do this – which is how we think it will be – then one will have to draw the relevant conclusions.
Photo of Irish greyhounds in Macao courtesy of GREY2K USA Worldwide.
By Massimo Greco
Translated by Isobel Deeley