The Social Democrats will bring a motion to the Dáil tomorrow to oppose increased funding for Irish greyhound racing and are calling on the Government to phase out State support for the sector.
The motion, which will be debated during Private Members’ Time on Wednesday, November 25, will call for the €2.4 million in increased funding earmarked for greyhound racing to be halted. The party has also proposed that the Government should:
· Refocus greyhound racing funding to the welfare of dogs impacted by breeding and racing associated with the industry.
· The phasing out of State support for the Irish greyhound industry by 2025.
In 2021, greyhound racing in Ireland will benefit to the tune of €19.2m from State – an increase of €2.4m. This is despite a significant drop in the numbers attending race meetings and declining advertising revenues.
The industry has received approximately €280m in taxpayer funding since 2000. As turnover from racing activities has steadily declined over the last decade (€32.9m in 2010 to €22.7m in 2017), State funding has increased from €11.9m in 2010 to €16.8m in 2020.
Holly Cairns TD, Social Democrats spokesperson for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, commented:
“Last year, a shocking ‘RTÉ Investigates’ programme laid bare the horrific treatment of greyhounds by some of those involved in the sport. This is an industry where 16,000 greyhounds are bred each year – 1,000 percent more than are needed. Of these, 6,000 are culled for spurious reasons, ranging from a decline in performance to not being fast enough to compete on the track.
“The overarching appalling standards of care make it difficult to understand the justification for continued State funding. In contributing millions of euros of public money to greyhound racing every year, the Government is propping up an inherently cruel sport which the Irish public has been increasingly rejecting.
“In the middle of a pandemic, when there isn’t money available for things like domestic violence refuge spaces or disability support services, the Government not only continues to fund greyhound racing, but actually increases the level of funding for the sector.
“This is unconscionable and cannot be allowed to continue.”
November 24, 2020