The Greyhound Racing Bill is primarily an industry Bill and is being introduced to ensure that the principles of good governance and regulation are clearly and unambiguously laid down in primary legislation. In broad terms the Bill seeks to address deficiencies in the existing legislation and the governance of Bord na gCon as identified by Indecon in its 2014 report on the sector. It will strengthen regulatory controls in the industry, modernise sanctions and improve integrity with a view to building a reputation for exceptional regulation in the sector.
Trade within the EU of dogs, including greyhounds, is governed by EU law.
The proposal to institute a white list of countries to which it is permissible for greyhounds to be exported would be incompatible with domestic and European law.
Bord na gCon, a commercial State Body established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry, has repeatedly stated that it does not support the export of greyhounds to destinations where the standard of care for greyhounds falls below that required under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, and the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 and its associated Code of Practice. I fully endorse this view.
My Department has a close working relationship with animal welfare charities on all aspects of animal welfare. Officials of my Department have met with the welfare members of the International Greyhound Forum, which includes the Dogs Trust, the ISPCA and Bord na gCon, to consider issues surrounding the export of greyhounds.