Written Answers. - Greyhound Exports.

Tony Gregory

Question:

267 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he will make a statement on the export of Irish greyhounds to Spain, the conditions in which they are being transported and the manner in which they are treated in Spain. [28414/98]

The exportation of greyhounds from Ireland to Spain is a legitimate trade within the European Union. We are precluded by EU rules of competition from taking any steps to restrict the export of greyhounds to other member states. The treatment of greyhounds in Spain is a matter for the Spanish authorities.

In 1991 Bord na gCon ceased to be involved in the sale of greyhounds to Spain. In 1995 the World Greyhound Racing Federation, WGRF, of which Bord na gCon is a member, carried out an extensive study of and prepared a report on the situation at Spanish greyhound tracks and their associated kennels. The report prepared by two veterinary surgeons was subsequently presented to the WGRF, of which Spain is also a member, and it contained a wide number of recommendations to improve the care, nutrition and general husbandry of the racing greyhound in Spain.

The protection during transportation of animals, including greyhounds, is governed by the Diseases of Animals (Protection of Animals during Transport) Orders, 1995 and 1997, which give effect to Council Directive 91/628/EEC as amended. These orders make provision for the welfare of animals during transport by road, rail, sea or air and require that the persons entrusted with the transport of animals possess the necessary knowledge to care for them. I am satisfied that the provisions of this legislation safeguard the welfare of all species of animals leaving this country.