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Greyhound numbers falling for five years

ON behalf of the Irish Greyhound Owners & Breeders Federation (IGOBF), I wish to take issue with a number of points raised in the letter from Des Groome (‘Greyhound industry best able to pay and most in need of regulation’, July 6).

Mr Groome refers to “a significant over-production problem” in the greyhound sector before going on to state that the breeding and sale of greyhounds is “thriving”. Anybody with even a basic understanding of economics would acknowledge that these two statements cannot possibly be reconciled, given the relationship between supply and demand.

Mr Groome rightly points out that “the best remedy for oversupply is to discourage breeding”. Greyhound breeders would appear to be one step ahead of him in this regard, however, given that we have seen litter numbers fall year-on-year for the past five years.

Mr Groome goes on to state “it is notable there is an absence of greyhound trainers or breeders sticking their heads up to plead penury”. The IGOBF is the national representative body for greyhound owners and breeders, and is statutarily recognised as such, given our position as a nominating body in Seanad elections.

On May 11 last, in Leinster House, we were granted a hearing in relation to the proposed Dog Breeding Establishments Bill by the Joint Committee on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. We provided the committee with a detailed written submission which outlined the costs associated with the production of a racing greyhound and clearly illustrated that, on average, this cost is supplemented by the breeder to the tune of more than €700 per dog. This figure goes some way towards explaining why it is that more than 70% of greyhound breeders breed only one litter per annum.

There has been much comment in the media and elsewhere as to why greyhound breeders are adamant that the welfare of the greyhound would be served best by amendments to the Greyhound Industry Act rather than inclusion in the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill.

Section 47 of the Greyhound Industry Act allows for the imposition of an exclusion order to prohibit a person guilty of an offence from attending any greyhound track, coursing meeting or sale of greyhounds. Where a person should be convicted of an offence under the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill, the imposition of further sanction under the Greyhound Industry Act might possibly be subject to legal challenge.

The sensible decision to amend the Greyhound Industry Act sees this significant deterrent remain in place. The IGOBF would welcome the swift publication of these amendments by the Department of Agriculture, and we look forward to the implementation of both pieces of legislation to safeguard the welfare of dogs of all breeds.

Conor Power

PRO Irish Greyhound Owners and Breeders Federation

Carrick-on-Suir

Co Tipperary


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