As you know, the greyhound industry is in the spotlight due to both the financial problems it faces and the damning spectre of cruelty and corruption that hangs over it.
The sale of Harold’s Cross racing track in Dublin has been accorded much publicity in recent months, and other tracks around the country are reportedly struggling to stay open.
Parallel with these developments evidence is mounting by the day of horrific cruelty to greyhounds, both here in Ireland and in the jurisdictions to which Irish greyhounds are exported. Reports of Irish dogs being skinned alive and then boiled to death for the Chinese meat market have shocked animal lovers worldwide, as have findings of greyhound carcasses in shallow graves all over Ireland: Once their running days are over they count for nothing in this toxic industry.
I now direct your attention to another issue, a little known but enormously significant rule that compels greyhound owners to support the cruel practice of live hare coursing even if they disapprove of it.
As matters stand, ALL greyhound owners who wish to enter their dogs in track racing must register each dog with the Irish Coursing Club. This applies to dogs used in hare coursing as well as greyhounds used for track racing.
The Irish Coursing Club is the official “holder of the Greyhound Stud Book” and is responsible for naming and registration of all greyhounds in Ireland.
Even people who wish to become involved in greyhound racing only and who object to hare coursing on ethical grounds are compelled to register with the ICC and thus pay the registration fee to that organization.
The Irish Coursing Club is over 90% financed by the dog registration fees. The money goes to fund its day to day activities and those of the 89 or so hare coursing clubs around the country affiliated to the ICC.
This is why, at a time when tracks are struggling (and deservedly so), hare coursing continues to draw upon this lucrative revenue stream. The funding amounts to an enforced subsidy of hare coursing and completely distorts the true level of support for the practice.
Briefly, this situation arose following the establishment of greyhound track racing in Ireland in the 1920s. The Irish Coursing Club managed it until the tracks were handed over to the newly established Bord na gCon in 1958 with the passing of the Greyhound Industry Act. However, the ICC retained control of the Greyhound Stud Book so that people would still be obliged to register greyhounds with the ICC.
Prior to Irish independence, the Greyhound Stud Book covering Ireland was managed by the British National Coursing Club. Today, greyhounds in Britain (where hare coursing is now illegal) are registered with the National Greyhound Racing Club.
So, even if there were no other objections to greyhound track racing, and all greyhounds were treated humanely and never exported to Spain, China, or Pakistan, the payment of registration fees to the Irish Coursing Club would still shame the entire industry.
When one considers that around 20,000 greyhounds are registered each year in Ireland the extent of this scandalous financial boost to hare coursing, a practice opposed by the vast majority of the population, becomes clear. Without this “cash cow” hare coursing would struggle to survive.
We urge all animal welfare conscious politicians to oppose the registering of greyhounds with the Irish Coursing Club.
Here is footage of what greyhound owners are supporting when they hand over money to the ICC:
Campaign for the Abolition
of Cruel Sports
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