1,000 signatures reached
To: Minister Michael Creed, Geraldine Larkin, CEO of IGB and Hilary Forde, IGB Director of Racing Governance and Compliance
Justice for Greyhounds
Ban the exportation of Irish greyhounds to jurisdictions that do not meet Irish animal welfare standards and make the IGB responsible and accountable for enforcing and policing this ban.
Why is this important?
Exporting racing greyhounds to Asia is condemning them to certain death in areas where no animal welfare laws exist and where no rehoming programs are in place. When shipped to Macau to race at the infamous Canidrome, they are condemned to live in miserable conditions, in barren concrete cells, raced on dangerous tracks, and killed as soon as they don't place in three of five consecutive races. All greyhounds entering the Macau Canidrome will be dead within three years.
At the end of 2015, the Australian ABC aired the investigation by Animals Australia regarding Australian greyhounds being exported to Asia (http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4369266.htm). Following this report, and the understandable public reaction to it, Qantas made the following statement: "...in light of the story we have made the decision to no longer provide racing greyhound freight services to Asia." (http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/qantas-will-no-longer-carry-racing-greyhounds-on-flights-to-asia-20151212-glm08m.html). This had the effect of drying up the supply of greyhounds, especially those destined for Macau.
Now racing greyhounds are being sourced from Ireland. In May, a shipment of 24 Irish greyhounds bound for Asia was spotted being transferred from the animal transport van, that took them from Ireland, into a furniture removal truck in Manchester. They were then driven in this furniture truck to Heathrow, bound for Asia, but the Animal Welfare Reception Centre refused to accept them due to their cages being unsuitable. These 24 greyhounds have since been returned to Ireland to the owner who tried to ship them to Macau.
The Irish government and the IGB (Irish Greyhound Board) have been pressured by a growing international community to take action, and during a joint initiative between the DAFM, the International Greyhound Forum (represented by ISPCA and Dogs Trust), and the IGB it was stated that "All parties present agreed to actively explore all avenues to ensure the export of greyhounds takes place only to jurisdictions with high welfare standards.". This may include setting up a similar policy to that implemented in Australia in 2013 by Greyhounds Australasia (GA) to make it against industry rules to export greys to destinations where welfare standards don't meet local standards. We've already seen in Australia that a similar industry ruling didn't stop exports. 179 trainers have recently been charged by Greyhound Racing New South Wales with exporting Australian greyhounds to the prohibited jurisdiction of Macau and face fines, suspension or being banned from racing (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-09/greyhound-racing-nsw-charges-179-trainers-owners/7497738). This demonstrates that an industry ban, especially when not policed, does nothing to stop greyhounds being exported to prohibited jurisdictions. What effectively stopped exports was the decision by Qantas to refuse carriage.
We ask that the Irish government take a serious stand and legislates against the exportation of its racing greyhounds to countries with inadequate welfare standards. A list of jurisdictions should be drawn up that, due to inadequate welfare standards, become prohibited destinations for the export of Irish greyhounds and the government should make it illegal to export racing greyhounds to those destinations. This list should include, at least, China, Vietnam, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Pakistan, Venezuela and Argentina. We ask that the IGB be held responsible and accountable for policing and enforcing this ban.