We the undersigned - are outraged at the news reported in the Irish Sunday Times on February 27th 2011 that the Irish Greyhound Board has been in discussions with a delegation of Chinese businessmen to export greyhounds to China. Dick O'Sullivan - the former CEO of the IGB was also quoted in the Irish Independent as saying: "Basically, they [China] want us to design the tracks, the facilities, the kennels, provide the dogs and set up the control and integrity operation as well as the Tote."
We are horrified that the IGB would even consider conducting business in a country with such a terrible record for animal abuse - where dogs are both skinned alive for their fur and killed for human consumption.
However - it is not surprising as we are already well aware of the appalling abuse and neglect greyhounds suffer in Ireland.
Each year the industry breeds between 20,000 and 30,000 dogs with no statutory provision for welfare and it is estimated 8,000 greyhound puppies - either too slow or will not chase the mechanical lure - 'disappear down a black hole' before even reaching the Irish tracks.
Furthermore - the IGB makes little provision for the dogs that are discarded by the industry once deemed of no further use as a 'betting unit'
Despite the strenuous efforts of greyhound rescue groups in Ireland - every year many thousands of healthy young greyhounds are callously killed by their breeders/trainers or dumped in pounds - where as 'hand ins' they are put to sleep almost immediately. In 2008 County Clare dog pound destroyed 273 and County Kerry dog pound destroyed a further 259 greyhounds - a total of 532 in just two of Ireland's 26 counties.
Regardless of the limited welfare protection for greyhounds in Ireland and their needless destruction - EU grants remain available for farmers who wish to further over breed greyhounds under the Farms Diversification Scheme - which would result in EU member states contributing financially and subsidising the breeding and export of greyhounds to China - should these proposals go ahead.
We call upon the Irish Greyhound Board to immediately withdraw their proposals and also call upon the Irish Government to not only use their powers to prevent the export of greyhounds to China but also address the very serious welfare issues that currently exist in Ireland.