Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Question 140 - Answered on 28 January 2016

Robert Troy TD (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)

To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he is aware of animal abuse suffered by greyhounds in the racing industry which includes lenient sanctions for persons who have committed grave abuses; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Simon Coveney (Minister, Department of Agriculture, the Marine and Food) (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)

Bord na gCon is the statutory body responsible for the regulation of greyhound racing under the Greyhound Industry Act 1958. It has specific powers conferred on it by the Greyhound Industry (Racing) Regulations 2007, S.I. 302 of 2007, which set out the detailed rules under which greyhound racing is conducted. The Irish Coursing Club (ICC) is the controlling authority for the breeding and coursing of greyhounds. The ICC is subject to the general control and direction of Bord na gCon under Section 26(2) of the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958.

The Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 specifies standards for greyhound welfare, establishes a register of Greyhound Breeding Establishments and regulates their operation. A code of Practice in the care and welfare of the greyhound has been established and published by Bord na gCon as per the requirements of the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011. The primary objective of the Code of Practice is to set standards and clearly define what is expected of all individuals engaged in the care and management of registered greyhounds. Greyhound welfare at Bord Na gCon is managed by the Welfare Manager.

I am assured that cases of cruelty and/or neglect which are reported to Bord na gCon are fully investigated and that sanctions under the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 are imposed on persons who have been identified as being in breach of the Act. Persons found to have committed offences under the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 are liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €5000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both. Persons may also be prosecuted under the Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013. The Act makes it an offence to do, or fail to do anything or cause or permit anything to be done to an animal that causes unnecessary suffering to, or endanger the health or welfare of an animal. The Act provides for increased levels of penalties - summary conviction up to €5,000 and on indictment €250,000 and/or imprisonment up to 5 years with fixed penalty payments for lesser offences. In addition, both of these Acts contain provisions permitting the imposition of fixed notice administrative sanctions in cases of less serious breaches of the legislation. The number of monthly Welfare and Kennel Inspections carried out by Bord na gCon Welfare Officers may be viewed on Bord na gCon’s website and information on the sanctions which have been imposed on persons who, following Bord na gCon investigations, have been identified as being in breach of the of the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 is also published on Bord na gCon’s website.

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