By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies see our privacy policy page.

Text Size: a a
Home A-Z Index Subscribe/RSS Contact Us Twitter logo small white bird

Minister Smith Publishes Welfare of Greyhounds Bill 2010

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today published the Welfare of Greyhounds Bill 2010. It is intended that the Bill will be introduced as a Seanad Bill early in the New Year.

Minister Smith said that the policy objective of the Bill is to "regulate the level of welfare in the greyhound industry and will complement the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010. However, the approach taken differs in some areas, having regard to the distinct nature of and controls applying to the keeping of registered greyhounds."

The Minister acknowledged that "the greyhound industry is a well regulated industry with a well established system of self-regulation, which provides a very useful and valuable starting point for this Bill. The industry registers and identifies all greyhounds so as to ensure the integrity of the greyhound racing system."

The Bill provides for the creation of a new register of greyhound breeding establishments, which are defined as establishments with four or more greyhound bitches over fifteen months of age that have been or are being used for breeding. The scope of the Bill is all greyhounds involved in the racing and coursing industry, defined as those animals entered in the Irish Greyhound Stud Book, whether or not such greyhounds are in a registered breeding premises. 

The Bill also puts restrictions on the number of times that a female greyhound can be bred.  Ordinarily, no more than six litters in a lifetime will be allowed. However, where a veterinarian certifies that it would not be detrimental to the greyhound's welfare, a bitch will be allowed to carry two additional litters. Furthermore, the minimum breeding age will be fifteen months.  This is considerably higher than the minimum breeding age provided for in the Dog Breeding Establishments Act. The Irish Coursing Club will be prohibited from registering litters born to greyhounds under fifteen months of age and as a consequence, such dogs will not be permitted to race or participate in coursing events.

The Bill also sets up extensive powers of inspection for welfare officers, appointed by Bord na gCon, the Irish Coursing Club or local authorities and gives them powers of inspection and issuing of Welfare Notices. Such notices may require a wide range of actions in the interests of the welfare of greyhounds. There are related enforcement matters as well as specific provisions relating to proceedings, penalties and the possibility of fixed payment notices.

The Minister conveyed his appreciation "to all those who made submissions during the drafting of the Heads of the Bill, particularly Bord na gCon, the Irish Coursing Club and the various animal welfare organisations. All of these views contributed to the preparation of this progressive legislation, the focus of which is the maintenance of high welfare standards in the greyhound industry, which are already recognised."  The Minister continued, "I am pleased that we have been able to publish this important Bill which complements the Dog Breeding Establishments Act and which is also entirely consistent with the principles that will inform the forthcoming Animal Health and Welfare Act. I look forward to the Bill's early enactment."

Date Released: 13 December 2010