Barry's Tea reviewing their sponsorship of an annual greyhound race in Cork following Prime Time report

Barry's Tea reviewing their sponsorship of an annual greyhound race in Cork following Prime Time report
Curraheen Grayhound Track. Picture: Denis Scannell

Popular tea company, Barry’s Tea, is currently reviewing its sponsorship of an annual greyhound race at Curraheen Park worth €5,000.

The company said it is “very concerned” at revelations highlighted in a recent RTÉ Investigates programme, which raised concerns over the treatment of dogs and the potential widespread culling of thousands of animals based on performances.

The RTÉ programme claimed that the greyhound industry is breeding 1,000% more puppies than it needs, leading to a cull of thousands of greyhounds every year.

In a statement on Twitter, Barry’s Tea said: “We are very concerned at the revelations highlighted in the RTÉ Investigates programme which aired on Wednesday and we are currently reviewing our sponsorship of the annual race in Curraheen Park, Cork.” 

Barry’s Tea sponsors the annual '€5,000 Barry’s Tea Open 750' at Curraheen Park.

Following the programme, the Irish Greyhound Board has approved a number of measures aimed at ensuring thousands of greyhounds are not euthanised illegally.

The board condemned illegal practices outlined in the Prime Time Investigates programme and approved a number of measures aimed at addressing the situation.

The board has revealed plans to “intensify its inspection regime” of greyhound establishments - 491 inspections were undertaken in 2018.

The board also plans to prepare a statutory instrument to make it a legal requirement that euthanasia of a greyhound must be carried out by a veterinary practitioner, which is already the standard expected under the IGB Code of Practice for the Care and Welfare of the Greyhound.

“The actions evident by an irresponsible minority within the greyhound industry have no place in this sport and will not be tolerated,” said IGB chairperson Frank Nyhan.

“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.” 

Other plans include the introduction of a greyhound injury support scheme to provide financial assistance to aid injured greyhounds to continue with a healthy life; financial incentives for the rehoming of greyhounds in Ireland; extending and increasing support under the IGB scheme for foster care of greyhounds; and establishing a confidential Freephone line to enable reports of welfare breaches to the IGB for investigation.

The board has also asked that RTÉ provides the IGB with all documented evidence gathered while researching the programme so that any breach of the law can be pursued.

The measures come after more than 200 people attended a protest against the industry at Curraheen Race Track in recent days.

Activist Katie Corcoran with Greyhound Awareness Cork 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.” 

Around €16 million is paid in state funding to the greyhound racing industry each year.

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