Monday, 1 July 2019

Need to know

Following the brave RTÉ Investigates programme,
showing the shocking cruelty greyhounds endure in Ireland, 
public statements from The Bord na Gcon(IGB),
 Dept. Agriculture, Food and the Marine(DAFM),
and from the racing community were desperately issued  -
all claiming the abuse greyhounds endure is from the minority 
in the racing industry.

The years of failure to act on the years of greyhound abuse and highly questionable governance by the IGB and DAFM has been normal practice - and the racing community have been fully aware themselves of this but they are always quick to remove themselves of any responsibility and accuse exhausted rescues, and advocates of greyhounds, that any reports pointing to/raising concerns of greyhound abuse is just lies and non-factual.

The IGB issued a statement two days after the broadcast of the RTÉ investigation, outlining a range of measures had been 'immediately approved'.

DAFM issued a statement the day after the broadcast of the RTÉ investigation, stating how the IGB have enhanced powers to make[new]regulations under the recently passed Greyhound Racing Act 2019 - DAFM continued by stating that it[DAFM]'has a strong and consistent record regarding the enforcement of animal welfare rules', going on to list welfare cases not related to the racing industry.

A statement was made public by a member of the racing community claiming whilst the horrors shown in the RTÉ investigation it was a 'good example' of RTÉ being 'dishonest' - going on to give incorrect information to counter areas highlighted in the investigation.

A greyhound breeder also went on the defence on radio Tipp FM giving flustered, misleading greyhound figures, complaining of the length of time greyhounds have to wait to be rehomed by the IGB/IRGT causing 'what we saw the other night[Killings of greyhounds]' - whilst he breeds more greyhounds.

The need to know though:
  • The IGB want to introduce an injury support scheme - injuries of/to greyhounds have always been a concern but the IGB are guilty of claiming that injuries are 'quite rare in greyhound racing'. Concerns have long been raised of injured greyhounds being used in racing -  whilst owners/trainers have been fined for giving their greyhounds pain-relief medications under a doping hearing, there has been no evidence of this issue being dealt with under welfare issues. Further revelations of a report the IGB refused to give under the Freedom of Information were obtained by The Business Post of IGB's knowledge of injured greyhounds used in racing.

  • The IGB want to increase welfare inspections - despite the IGB welfare inspections having declined dramatically over the last three years(this has mirrored the dramatic decline in the number of samples taken for testing prohibited substances).

  • The IGB will provide a confidential freephone line so welfare breaches can be reported to the IGB for investigation - The IGB have failed/declined in the past to investigate notices of welfare breaches/issues reported to them, including welfare reports concerning the greyhounds kept by the 2014 IGB award winner Noel Mullins.

  • The IGB want to 'Progress the traceability provisions of the Greyhound Act 2019' - a long-standing issue largely ignored by the IGB.

  • The IGB have claimed that the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 is 'probably the strongest piece of legislation for any animal in the world'. This piece of legislation was used to only fine John Corkery  €800 for forgery and failure of transfer of ownership, not for the killings of his greyhounds he allowed to be shot and dumped in 2012(not 2007 as given in the statement by a member of the racing community). Corkery refused to give information of the identity of the person(s) he gave his greyhounds to to be shot - the IGB praised it a successful prosecution and in 2016 licensed John Corkery to race greyhounds in Ireland again.

  • DAFM and the IGB allowed the illegal breeding/registration/racing of greyhounds for nine years - this would have contributed to more greyhounds considered as wastage and dealt with as considered, as well as adding pressure to any numbers of greyhounds lucky enough to have found homes through the already many exhausted rescue centres.

  • The IGB kept from DAFM an important 2017 document which would have been of great value in the development of the recently passed Greyhound Racing Act 2019 - this document, also kept from the public, was finally released only because the IGB knew the makers of the RTÉ investigation had gained access to it.

  • The IGB announced to 'Financially incentivise the rehoming of greyhounds in Ireland through additional supports though the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust' - Financially the IGB-run IRGT has always been seriously poor despite calls for change in the organisation, along with concerns raised of a breach of the Charities Act 2009. False figures of IGB/IRGT homed greyhounds were given in the development of the Greyhound Racing Act 2019 by IGB Chairman, Frank Nyhan. An organisation happy for it's volunteers to go on radio and keep certain truths out of the interview.

  • Despite a previous recent shocking investigation by RTÉ, into the doping of greyhounds in 2017, the urine samples taken from greyhounds for testing have continued to decline  and IGB Veterinary Director, Denis Healy, said in an RTÉ Drivetime interview(Dec 2017) 'people are entitled to their views but the reality is we are facing this[doping]head on..' - even after the investigation the IGB relaxed rules on the drug pentobarbitone.

  • The issue of the doping of greyhounds continues - with a two-year-wait for any decision(s)on the three urine samples showing cocaine given by the Graham Holland trained Clonbrien Hero.

  • Concerns continue of the IGB's continued praise for trainers with a history in prohibited substances - where the IGB stated, just days after the RTÉ Running for their lives investigation it was 'a night for the Irish to celebrate' in reaction to the UK Greyhound Derby final on 29th June being won by a greyhound trained by Paul Hennessy - who has a guilty history in prohibited substances. Also in that Derby final was Graham Holland who, as highlighted above, still has three cases of cocaine samples to answer. 

The list could go on.

The IGB have shown many times over they have a 
dubious history - in greyhound welfare as well as in business practices.
DAFM have played their role in allowing this to happen - we have even seen time
 and time again DAFM Ministers smiling in photos with those involved
 in issues such as doping and live baiting -
as well as sharing a part ownership in a racing greyhound.

The racing community, despite their claims of it being the minority who abuse
greyhounds, are fully complicit simply by being involved in the demand for greyhounds.

We can show how for the last 25 years we seen nothing but failure for the gentle greyhound, 
despite all the debates, all the reviews, all the Acts/Legislation's,
all the investigations and reports.

Now, following the shocking truths shown in the
RTÉ Investigates programme, more people than ever before
will be demanding justice not for the trainers/breeders/owners/sellers
but for the greyhound - by the immediate phasing out of greyhound racing.