Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Questions (185)

Maureen O'Sullivan


185. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the subsidising of greyhound tracks with public funds will cease in view of falling attendances at greyhound tracks, the significant financial losses at tracks and the ongoing injuries and deaths suffered by greyhounds. [41515/18]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Bord na gCon (BnG) is a commercial State Body established in 1958 under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry.

A report by Economist Jim Power in November 2017 calculates there are 5,058 full and part-time jobs within the sector, with a further 7,313 greyhound owners deriving economic benefit from the industry. The impact of this employment creates €171 million in additional spending while the greyhound owners contribute €135 million in spending. The national industry therefore contributes €300 million in additional economic activity. For these reasons I have no plans to cease funding for the sector.

BnG has assured me that regulation and welfare are a high priority for the Board with €2 million being spent in these areas in 2017.

In September 2018 BnG announced that a comprehensive, strategic review into the future needs of its 16 licensed stadia to determine the industry footprint of the future is to take place. The review is an integral part of the BnG’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022, which was published earlier this year.

BnG’s five year strategic plan also puts animal welfare at the centre of the industry.

BnG has informed me that so far in 2018, 42 welfare inspections and 302 Inspections of greyhound establishments - including trainers’ kennels and schooling tracks – have been carried out nationwide.

The Government recently approved the Greyhound Industry Bill 2018, which will further improve governance and regulation in the greyhound industry. This legislative framework will allow Bord na gCon to maintain the very positive welfare initiatives that are already in place, as well as implement further progressive measures to allay any public concerns that may exist on welfare within the industry. This Bill, when enacted, will add to existing legislation making the greyhound the most regulated of all canine breeds.