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West Cork a ‘blackspot’ in greyhound industry

Wednesday, 10th July, 2019 10:05pm

Story by Siobhan Cronin
West Cork a ‘blackspot’ in greyhound industry

Creed: Dept to investigate.

WEST Cork is one of the country’s blackspots for the treatment of greyhounds, according to the reporter behind the RTÉ investigation into the industry, which was aired last week.

A number of local trainers were named in the programme which drew huge outrage from the public, after it was aired on RTÉ 1 last Wednesday night.

The exposé into the greyhound racing and coursing industries also showed secret footage of three coursing events held on Whiddy Island, and named several local businessmen as having been involved in the events.

The Southern Star reported last year that Whiddy had one of the worst track records regarding the trapping of hares for coursing.

A report by the National Parks and Wildlife Service showed that 26 hares were removed by two separate coursing clubs in November 2018. ‘You could say West Cork is a blackspot for the industry,’ reporter Conor Ryan, who worked on the investigation for several months, told The Southern Star. ‘North Cork was another area that had several issues,’ he added.

Ryan’s report also showed how knackeries were agreeing to shoot dogs who had been deemed too slow or too old for the industry, despite the Department of Agriculture recommending they be sent to veterinary surgeons to be put to sleep humanely instead.

The knackeries were charging between €10 and €35 to shoot a dog, while putting a dog to sleep can cost about €80, the programme noted. Other dogs, deemed to be past their ‘sell by’ dates, were being shipped to China where they were often mis-treated. Some were even boiled alive, the programme claimed.

Macroom-based Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said he was ‘deeply concerned’ by the breaches in animal welfare shown by the programme and added that his Department would investigate the allegations made and take any ‘necessary enforcement actions’, and review the licence conditions in knackeries.

Following the programme, the Green Party called for taxpayers’ money to be redirected away from greyhound racing to animal welfare and environmental groups.

They also called for the immediate suspension of State funding to the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB). ‘It is clear the organisation is incapable of managing the rogue element in the industry,’ the party said.

And, in response to comments on social media, Cork firm Barry’s Tea said it was withdrawing its sponsorship of greyhound racing at Curraheen Road in Cork, whle insurer FBD said it was also withdrawing its sponsorship deal with Kilkenny Greyhound Stadium.