The vast majority of dogs that are moved from Ireland go to the UK. Under EU law, dogs moved to another EU country from Ireland must be accompanied by an EU pet passport, be microchipped, and have a valid rabies vaccination.
The welfare of greyhounds is regulated by the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 and the Animal Health and Welfare Act of 2013. The latter applies to all animals, whether kept for commercial, domestic, sport, show or other purposes. It contains robust measures against the ill-treatment of animals.
The Greyhound Racing Bill 2018, when enacted, will add to existing legislation, making the greyhound the most regulated of all canine breeds in Ireland. The Bill ensures 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. 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.
My Department has a close working relationship with animal welfare charities on all aspects of animal welfare. Officials of my Department meet regularly with 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.
Bord na gCon is the State Body responsible for the governance, regulation and development of the greyhound industry in Ireland. It is opposed to exports of greyhounds to countries that do not meet Ireland’s welfare standards. This is a view that I fully endorse.