The Social Democrats will put forward a Private Members Motion in the Dáil on Wednesday to phase out state support for the Irish greyhound racing industry.
Ireland will see funding to the Greyhound industry increase to €19.2 million from €16 million last year and Catherine Murphy, Social Democrat co-leader, has said the state is complicit in acts of animal cruelty by providing the Greyhound industry with millions of euros every year.
TD for Cork West Holly Cairns says the motion will reverse the increase in funding awarded to the greyhound racing industry in 2021 and increase funding for the welfare of greyhounds.
“Last year through an RTÉ documentary we learned 16,000 dogs are born every year to support the industry and almost 6000 of those dogs are killed because they failed to make qualification times or their performance has declined,” Ms Cairns said on Newstalk Breakfast.
“So basically, the industry kills almost 6000 dogs annually for not racing fast enough and our government funds this, not just every year but in the middle of a pandemic they’ve upped the funding by €2.4 million for 2021, they will receive €19.2 million, and this industry is loss-making here and it’s public money going into that so attendance of races for greyhound racing tracks fell by 55% between 2008-2018.
Holly Cairns says the motion by the Social Democrats will phase out funding for the greyhound industry.
“The combined loss for tracks between 2019 and 22 is predicted to be €30 million.
“We’re in the middle of a pandemic so we’re constantly hearing there isn’t enough funding for essential services like Disability Support Services, and domestic violence rescue space.”
So basically, the industry kills almost 6000 dogs annually for not racing fast enough and our government funds this…
Independent TD for Kerry Danny Healy-Rae rejects the numbers put forward in the RTÉ investigates documentary last year.
“That statement that there’s animal cruelty involved, nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.
“The people that run the greyhounds and own the greyhounds, they have respect for the greyhounds and all animals, and it’s just because RTÉ said they’re killed and done away with, that’s not true. They assumed they were killed.
“In every sport or walk or life there are rogue or bad elements and I know 95% or 99% of Greyhound owners, I know that they spend their evening’s training and grooming their greyhounds.
“I’m disputing that 6000 of them haven’t been killed. I see the older greyhounds in the best conditions. That’s a total and absolute lie.”
Ms Cairns noted that the documentary has been “disputed and hasn’t been debunked”, and some greyhound trainers treat their dogs well.
“They are the trainers who understand where the Social Democrats are coming from,” she said.
“You’d swear when you hear about the increase in funding and the likes of Danny there, that the Social Democrats are the minority, but when you look at it, we’re actually not.
“There are 2019 Red C Poll found that only 16% of the population agree that funding should go into this and it still does, and as an increase despite the outcry following the documentary, despite the fact that the industry relies on over breeding of greyhounds and the culling of 6,000 dogs a year or more.”