Further protests planned against Ireland's greyhound industry

Further protests planned against Ireland's greyhound industry
The protest at Curraheen Greyhound Stadium was attended by over 200 people and included actress and author Pauline McLynn.Attending the event were members of Dog Action Welfare Group (DAWG). Pic; Larry Cummins

Further protests against greyhound racing are planned following an overwhelming turnout to a demonstration outside Curraheen track on Saturday night.

More than 220 people attended the protest following an RTÉ documentary that aired last week highlighting maltreatment of greyhounds.

Activist Katie Corcoran with Greyhound Awareness Cork said the response to the issue has been incredible since the programme aired and people across the board, from old men to teenagers have been approaching her “gobsmacked” by what they saw on the Prime Time report.

“We had 221 people and 51 dogs at the track last night. Pauline McLynn (former Fr Ted actor) gave a great speech and she said she believed there were more people outside the track than there were inside.” 

Michelle O'Connor, Pamela O'Sullivan, Rachel Murphy, Angela O'Brien and Niamh Hodge with dogs Ollie and ex-racer Molly. Pic; Larry Cummins
Michelle O'Connor, Pamela O'Sullivan, Rachel Murphy, Angela O'Brien and Niamh Hodge with dogs Ollie and ex-racer Molly. Pic; Larry Cummins

Ms Corcoran said that people were coming out of the woodwork asking what can they do about what they say and every second person was talking about the documentary.

“I have been involved in Greyhound Awareness Cork for the past four years, raising awareness about the industry, but for some reason, we were unable to reach the general public.

“Now, people who were never interested before have become passionate about the welfare of greyhounds and it is amazing to see.” 

The animal activist said that the organisation ran out of posters and flags outside the track and said she was very grateful to the people behind the documentary for the powerful insight they created for people.

Mr Corcoran said one of the most powerful scenes of the show was an owner who had taken a dog to a knackery to be shot dead. The footage showed the owner waiting in the car for the dog’s collar and lead and the dog twitching after being shot as he seems not to have died immediately.

Katie said a number of people were not happy about the huge amounts of taxpayers money that was being given to the industry.

“We are paying for it, we are propping up the industry,” Katie said.

Members of Dog Action Welfare Group (DAWG) outside the Greyhound Stadium in Curraheen. Pic; Larry Cummins
Members of Dog Action Welfare Group (DAWG) outside the Greyhound Stadium in Curraheen. Pic; Larry Cummins

Mr Corcoran said that a number of sponsors, were now reconsidering their commitment to the sport and some trainers were even walking away from the industry following the behind the scenes snapshot of what is involved in greyhound racing.

While the Irish Greyhound Board condemned the practices shown on the Prime Time show and introduced a number of short term measures to improve the health and safety of the animals involved, Mr Corcoran said it will never be enough and the sport needs to be brought to a close entirely.

Chairman of the Irish Greyhound Board, Frank Nyhan said: “The actions evident by an irresponsible minority within the greyhound industry have no place in this sport and will not be tolerated.

“The IGB will continue to work with all agencies to ensure that such illegal activity is rooted out and those responsible are subject to prosecution for breaches of the law.

“Now that the Greyhound Racing Act 2019 has been finalised it is the Board’s clear intent to continue on its programme of further regulation within the sector.”

A protest outside Minister of Agriculture Michael Creed's office in Macroom is planned for this Thursday afternoon to protest against the large grants given to the greyhound industry.

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