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THE decision by this government not to allow the export of Irish greyhounds to China has, thankfully, spared many hundreds of these gentle creatures an appalling fate.
That the Irish Greyhound Board would have even considered sending dogs to a country which doesn’t officially recognise the concept of animal welfare in its laws comes as no surprise to those familiar with the practice of greyhound racing in this country.
This so-called sport is about one thing — and one thing only — money. The term “animal welfare” has only recently entered the lexicon of the IGB and remains very low down its list of priorities. It is estimated that a shocking 10,000 greyhounds are killed here annually — either because they have outlived their usefulness on the track or because they never made the grade in the first place. Dogs which actually make it to the track routinely sustain serious injury. Fractures, broken hocks, injured toes, torn muscles, strained tendons and arthritic joints are commonplace. And despite some drug testing on the part of the authorities, many Irish raced dogs suffer from being administered drugs such as cocaine, Viagra, nandrolone and steroids — all of this is well-documented. Given that an even worse situation exists in China, as evidenced by much recent media coverage, the Irish Greyhounds Board, as a semi-state body, should be made withdraw from all future involvement with syndicates promoting the development of greyhound racing in China. And every effort must be made to ensure that Irish dogs will not end up in China via private groups or individuals operating without “official” IGB approval.
Irish Animal Welfare Forum
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