"Shocking crowds, rotten image": Greyhound racing "in serious trouble"
02 November 2017
The Evening Echo's greyhound racing correspondent has provided a damning insight into the state of greyhound racing in County Cork. In a series of tweets this week, Barry Drake commented that greyhound racing "has a rotten image" and is "in serious trouble".
After attending greyhound racing in Cork's Curraheen Park track, he tweeted "Shocking crowds, poor tote-pools, zero atmosphere, game in serious trouble. Something needs to be done quickly!"
In follow-up tweets, he added: "Greyhound racing has a rotten image at the moment" and "it's really sad - I absolutely love the game but tracks need to take a good look at themselves."
In response to an individual who said "I've not been in a while now but the lack of atmosphere and crowds actually makes it very depressing", he replied "I thought I was the only person using the word depressing - but your [sic] spot on." https://www.twitter.com/Drakesport/status/924957920185470976
In September, we reported that the Curraheen Park track cancelled racing on Thursdays.
The fall in interest in racing at Curraheen Park has previously been highlighted by the Evening Echo newspaper. A report in March outlined that "due to a lack of entries", a race at the track had to be delayed by a week "in the hope that extra entries materialise". A track manager was quoted as saying: "It is disappointing that such an event has failed to fill".
As reported by ICABS earlier this year, greyhound owners are abandoning the greyhound industry in their thousands.
Further to a Dail Question from ICABS President, Maureen O'Sullivan TD, the Irish Greyhound Board confirmed that the number of active owners of racing greyhounds has plummeted by nearly 50 per cent in the past decade. Information supplied to Deputy O'Sullivan by the IGB shows a major exodus from the industry.
The figures show that there were 7,265 fewer owners of racing greyhounds in 2015 than in 2007. The numbers fell every year from 14,869 in 2007 to 7,604 in 2015.
The number of greyhound racing meetings has also significantly dropped. In 2006, 2,190 meetings were held and in 2015, that number had fallen by a quarter to 1,642.
Other figures supplied by the greyhound board confirm that it's not only greyhound owners who are turning their backs on the industry - so too is the general public, with 606,099 less attendances at greyhound tracks around Ireland in the past 10 years. That's a nearly 50 per cent fall.
Sponsors are also rejecting greyhound racing with a 58 per cent drop in sponsorship between 2007 and 2014. The industry has also seen a 58 per cent fall in tote in the same period.
One thing not going down in the greyhound industry is the funding being handed over by the Irish Government. In continuing to fund this industry with taxpayers' money (nearly a quarter of a billion euro since 2001, including €16 million earmarked for 2018), our politicians are shamefully disregarding the glaringly obvious signs that this is a dying industry in freefall. As community groups, sports clubs, health organisations, animal rescue centres and schools cry out for funding, the time has come for the government to finally stop squandering scarce public money on greyhound racing and re-direct it to where it matters.
49% fall in numbers of "active owners of racing greyhounds"
(Source: Irish Greyhound Board)
25% fall in number of greyhound racing meetings
(Source: Irish Greyhound Board)
URGENT ACTION ALERT
Don't attend greyhound races or community fund-raisers held at greyhound tracks (these are a significant source of funding for the greyhound industry).
Contact the Irish Government now. Email "Stop funding the cruel and crumbling greyhound industry" to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry
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