Thursday, 8 June 2017
Irish Greyhound Board welcomes new legislation on greyhound exports - Action may be needed at an EU level
‘A new traceability scheme will support greater greyhound welfare’
The Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) have welcomed proposed legislation on greyhound exports at the Joint Oireachtas (Parliamentary) Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine on Tuesday (30 May 2017) however the Board cautioned that action may be needed at an EU level.
The meeting of the Oireachtas Committee took place as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny of the General Scheme of Greyhound Industry Bill 2017. Currently, there is no legislation prohibiting the exports of greyhounds however the IGB had already stated their opposition of exports to countries do not meet Ireland’s welfare standards.
The movement of all dogs between Member States is currently set on a European level. This may require any further legislative changes to be sponsored at a European level rather than as a national measure in isolation. Speaking at the committee, an IGB board member stated that concerns over exports relate to all dogs, not just greyhounds and added that some of the practises involving dogs in other countries are ‘appalling’.
At the Committee meeting, the IGB proposed a new greyhound traceability system to underpin welfare improvements. The robust traceability measure would require that all racing greyhounds to be registered in a new database and for owners to report on significant life events which the IGB believe would be a significant step forward in ensuring greater welfare and accountability.
Under questioning from Oireachtas members of the committee, the IGB outlined significant action taken to combat the doping of greyhounds. In total, circa. 5400 samples were taken to combat doping in 2016, of these 48 resulted in an adverse analytical finding. This result equates to a less than 1% adverse rate and most of these can be explained due to therapeutic substances.
All adverse laboratory results are published along with the decisions taken by the independent Control Committee on doping investigations.
Recently, the IGB invested €400,000 in a new world-leading laboratory analytical machine that is internationally accredited and can detect substances at very low levels in samples which includes anabolic steroids. The IGB outlined their cooperation with the ISPCA and An Garda Síochana in welfare investigations which have resulted in 571 inspections of kennels, 34 full investigations and over 20 sanctions being issued in 2016.