Parliamentary question - P-010693/2010Parliamentary question

Welfare of greyhounds in Ireland

Question for written answer P-010693/2010
to the Commission
Rule 117
Fiona Hall (ALDE)

Greyhound breeders, trainers and rearers in Ireland can apply for support from the EU structural funds via the National Development Plan, and financing is also available under the heading of ‘Development of the Greyhound Industry’ as a farm diversification activity. This aid is available to encourage improvement in the quality and range of greyhound breeding and to assist in the promotion of the greyhound racing industry in the country.

However, I have been contacted by a constituent regarding the welfare of greyhounds in Ireland.

A ‘Dog Breeding Establishments Bill’ has been debated in the Irish Parliament but it is now proposed to make greyhounds exempt from this legislation. The Government has promised instead to amend the existing Greyhound Industry Act of 1958 to introduce welfare measures for greyhounds, but with less stringent requirements than those for other breeds of dog covered by the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill.

Each year, the greyhound racing industry in Ireland breeds between 20 000 and 30 000 dogs with no statutory provision for welfare. Welfare groups in Ireland claim that too many dogs are being bred and that both racing and retired dogs are being abandoned and left to die.

Given that the EU funds the Irish greyhound racing industry, will the Commission raise concerns with the Irish authorities over the lack of regulations in place to protect the welfare of greyhounds, including those in retirement?

Does the Commission agree that a level EU playing field on welfare standards is necessary in order to ensure proper functioning of the single market in greyhound rearing?

What action will the Commission take to ensure a competitive single market in greyhound rearing?

OJ C 265 E, 09/09/2011