Rásaíocht Con Éireann(RCE)/Greyhound Racing Ireland(GRI)
welcome a pitiful fine for a welfare case
involving twelve greyhounds from one owner.
GRI CEO, Ger Dollard, yet again, cites there is a 'priority of maintaining animal welfare at the centre of the industry' - following the conviction and €1000 fine(with €5,682 costs)of Kieran O'Donnell, Co. Sligo, for welfare breaches involving twelve greyhounds.
The case dates back to GRI welfare inspections in November/December 2019 where GRI seized the twelve greyhounds, and working in conjunction with the, industry-run, Irish Retired Greyhound Trust, eight were homed. The greyhounds were found in 'extremely poor condition'.
Under the Greyhound Racing Act 2019(still to be implemented)'Conditions of office of members of board' 9(3) show a GRI board member 'ceases to hold office if convicted of an offence involving cruelty to an animal or relating to animal welfare'. A similar call was made, by greyhound welfare/rehoming charities, during the drafting of the 2019 Act to include that greyhound owners/trainers/breeders should be banned following welfare convictions but those calls were rejected - instead just pitiful fines continue under relevant Regulations of the 2011 Act.
Is this incompetence(again)on GRI's traceability? Did O'Donnell sell Slipalong Pearl and fail to adhere to Welfare Of Greyhounds Act 2011 Transfer of ownership regulations? Does Slipalong Pearl continue to live on the premises of O'Donnell?
Along with these questions for GRI, a further question the public would want to see answered - following yet another announcement from the industry that there is a 'priority of maintaining animal welfare at the centre of the industry' - is, why are welfare inspections declining?
2020 shows the industry conducted lowest number of welfare inspections since 2015. Alarmingly, 2021, so far, shows a further, dramatic, decline in welfare inspections.
From January to March 2020, there were 219 welfare inspections(Jan - 95, Feb - 92 and March - 32).
From January to March 2021, there were 53 welfare inspections(Jan - 19, Feb -19 and March - 15).
While greyhounds continue to be used for racing/breeding/selling during the covid-19 pandemic, the GRI argument that covid-19 has limited the industry being able to carry out welfare inspections - causing inspection declines - is laughable.
December 2020 DAFM Minister, Charlie McConalogue, defending the funding for the industry, told the Dáil there were 7,313 active greyhound owners. GRI show there were 571 welfare inspections for 2016. This would mean that less than eight percent of owners were inspected - a figure that ultimately would show fewer welfare issues for the industry to report.
Similar declines in industry-activity on welfare for greyhounds can be
seen in the decline of doping tests carried out.
It is clear that welfare is not at the centre of the industry.