Monday, 14 March 2011

IGB sink to new low

Is this Irish bred greyhound destined for China?

In an article published 27 February, The Sunday Times exposed recent discussions that have taken place between the Irish Greyhound Board and Chinese officials on the development of greyhound racing in China and the export of Irish dogs to meet the demand generated by the expansion.

Many animal welfare organisations including the Dogs Trust, Dublin SPCA, Irish SPCA and Blue Cross have expressed grave concerns about the discussions and are calling on the IGB to reconsider their plans.

In a joint letter to the media the group stated: “The future of Irish greyhounds in China would at best be short lived and at worst dire and unthinkable.”

No regulation of any kind exists in China to protect domestic animals and a track official at the Canidrome (currently China’s only stadium) is reported saying that 400 of their dogs judged too old to race are killed every year.

The IGB - a semi-state body - appear, however, indifferent on the greyhound’s fate if a quote in The Sunday Times is anything to go by: “We do not have any influence on the welfare standards adopted in other countries, and these matters are more appropriately dealt with by the country’s own legislative system.”

Not since the horrific pictures exposing the ill treatment and killing of Irish greyhounds exported to Spain has the industry faced such a backlash with British welfare organisations standing united with their Irish counterparts.

The IGB is being watched. If the collaboration with China goes ahead the Board will have lost all credibility and Ireland’s reputation will be irrevocably tarnished.