The Irish Coursing Club (ICC) has informed me that the coursing-bred greyhound is separate and distinct from track-bred greyhounds and will generally not chase a lure.
On the important issue of animal welfare, under the provisions of the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 the regulation of coursing is chiefly a matter for the Irish Coursing Club. This is subject to the general control and direction of Bord na gCon, which is the statutory body with responsibility for the improvement and development of the greyhound industry, greyhound racing and coursing. The ICC has confirmed that it has systems in place to underpin the welfare of animals participating in coursing events. In particular hounds are muzzled to minimise injury.
Regarding controls carried out, the ICC requires that a veterinary surgeon and a control steward are present at all coursing meetings. In addition veterinary officials from my Department and Rangers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (part of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht) also monitor a number of meetings during the coursing season.
The Deputy can be assured that my Department will continue to carefully monitor the situation in order to ensure that live coursing is run in a well controlled manner. I welcome the strong emphasis being placed on welfare issues at coursing meetings.