Breeding bill ‘could destroy greyhound industry’

FINE GAEL has warned that the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill now going through the Oireachtas could wipe out the Irish greyhound industry.

Senators from the party have been seeking amendments to make greyhounds exempt from the bill’s limit of six litters, and the requirement that a bitch is not mated inside 12 months from the previous litter. Another amendment proposes that greyhounds registered through the Irish Coursing Club should be exempt from the micro-chipping requirement in the Bill.

The main purposes of the bill introduced by Environment Minister John Gormley are to regulate dog breeding and provide for an increase in dog licence fees. Fine Gael senator Paudie Coffey from Waterford said Fine Gael agrees that puppy farming must be regulated, but has submitted amendments to protect the greyhound Industry.

Mr Gormley has said he will not accept amendments which would constitute having separate regulatory regimes for dog breeding establishments, one for the greyhounds and one for all other dogs.

And Minister of State at the Department of the Environment Michael Finneran has rejected the view that the Greyhound Industry Act 1958 sufficiently addresses the welfare of greyhounds. He said the limit of six litters to each bitch should remain in place.

Mr Finneran said it difficult to support the view that the greyhound industry practice of marking each greyhound with a tattoo is sufficient. Microchipping is proposed in the bill. Discussion of the legislation will resume in Seanad Eireann on Tuesday, March 30.

Mr Coffey has accused Mr Gormley of damaging the greyhound industry by alleging that legislation governing the Irish Greyhound Board and the Irish Coursing Club is inadequate.

He has warned that greyhound brood bitches will be exported to other jurisdictions if Fine Gael amendments to the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill are not accepted. Mr Finneran has rejected comments that the bill is anti-rural, and said there is nothing in the legislation that poses any threat to the greyhound industry.

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