AN OFF the cuff ‘humorous’ remark about Greyhounds by a comedian on the Richard and Judy TV show prompted outrage from Greyhound cruelty campaigners last week, causing TV bosses to hastily issue an apology.
Irish comedian Dara O’Briain appeared as a guest on the Channel 4 show, hosted by Richard Maddeley and his wife Judy Finnigan last Wednesday when he made a ‘joke’ about his Greyhound racing syndicate sending their ‘useless’ Greyhounds to Barcelona. Richard and Judy themselves seemingly found this hysterical.
When this news was posted on the Greyhound welfare website Greys UK after the programme, one irate group member, canine writer Roz Ford expressed her anger saying: "I just wonder whether they thought he meant the Greyhounds were sunning themselves on the beach? Clearly they either have no knowledge of what actually happens to the dogs there, or - and this alternative leaves me cold - they DO know and are just not the nice people I thought them to be.
"When greyhounds ‘go to Barcelona’ it is a death sentence - but a delayed one. The conditions at the Barcelona tracks are abominable. They are housed in tiny concrete kennels that some dogs cannot turn around in, without any heating or air-cooling, so that the dogs roast in summer and freeze at nights in winter. Dogs have little or no veterinary attendance, and often - and I do mean often- - race with fractured toes, tails and sometimes legs."
Ford continued: "There was an RSPCA operation a while back where 36 dogs were taken on a 750 mile journey to Barcelona from an Irish sale, crammed into a mere 20 cages, covered with a thick tarpaulin and travelled for 18 hours on a ferry, followed by 20 hours on the road, with ONE water break. All this in temperatures exceeding 40c. The majority of dogs could not stand to their full height, and as many shared cages they were unable to lie down or sit at the same time.
"Quite simply, greyhounds suffer extreme cruelty and distress at Barcelona, and when they cannot run any more the 'lucky' ones are shot or injected - rarely by a vet or trained professional though.
"Greyhounds in Barcelona are, I'm afraid, never a laughing matter."
The posting was flashed across the Internet and within hours the Richard and Judy show were deluged with e-mails from irate dog lovers.
Shortly afterwards, one campaigner received a telephone call from a member of the Richard and Judy’ production team, who apologised for this error. The female member of staff said that the show intended to ‘do something’ about the plight of Greyhounds in the near future to redress the balance.
OUR DOGS, along with the members of Greyhound Rescue will be watching over the coming weeks to see whether the show’s producers stick to the promise made verbally to the campaigner. However, when contacted by OUR DOGS on Monday of this week, a spokesperson for the show made no comment with regard to a follow-up feature, but simply said: " We are sorry for any offence this may have caused".
Dara O’Briain was unavailable for comment.