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New fund a 'knee jerk reaction'

Thursday, 8th August, 2019 10:13am

A new care fund for greyhounds announced by the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) has been labelled a “knee jerk reaction” by a local animal rights group.

The announcement comes six weeks after a damning ‘RTÉ Prime Time Investigates' special on greyhound racing revealed that close to 6,000 greyhounds are killed each year within the racing industry.

The new care fund promises to fund a variety of initiatives for the care and welfare of greyhounds including re-homing initiatives, a greyhound injury support scheme, care centres, a traceability system and other actions all designed to support the care and welfare of the racing greyhound.

Speaking to the Cork Independent, Co-founder of Greyhound Awareness Cork, Katie Corcoran, said: “The IGB are promising the earth, the moon and the stars after the RTÉ programme. It's not the slightest bit practical. Yearly, about 1,500 greyhounds are homed either directly or through rescue.”

“Now they want to add another 6,000 to make it 7,500. Think of that over five years and you're looking at around 37,500 extra greyhounds that they’re planning on re-homing. It’s not realistic,” said Ms Corcoran.
She added: “This new care plan doesn't actually include all the greyhounds that don't make it into the racing industry. Only dogs registered to race will come under the IGB,” she said, adding that  dogs who aren’t registered won’t come under this plan.
The IGB plans to provide a ring fenced sum of €1 million solely dedicated to care and welfare initiatives for racing greyhounds.
Based on 2019 budget and activity levels, the IGB says the fund will come from attendance, tote income and sponsorship.
However, Ms Corcoran feels that the IGB will have great difficulty drawing the fund from these sources.
“Attendance is plummeting at the moment. Tote income is dropping. As far as sponsorship is concerned, nine high profile companies have pulled out since the RTÉ broadcast. So because the sources of this fund are unrealistic, they can just say 'well it didn't work out'.”
Ms Corcoran also expressed concern over the IGB’s approach to injured dogs and feels that the new care fund, which offers to pay 50 per cent of the animal’s medical bill, will not convince trainers to have their injured dogs seen by a vet.
“A greyhound is either making money or wasting money as far as the industry is concerned. So if a greyhound can't race again, are they trying to convince us that an owner is going to pay for half of the vet’s fee? 
“Even if the fund covered 100 per cent, it would still leave a trainer with a dog that can't race,” said Ms Corcoran.
Applications will be assessed on the basis that the greyhound will immediately retire from competitive action following its treatment.
The IGB has said that the new care fund will be brought into effect from 1 November this year.
The IGB was contacted for a reply but said it would not be commenting further on the matter. 

 

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