The Greyhound industry in Ireland could lose a major sponsor after an investigation revealed that 6,000 greyhounds are being killed for not being fast enough.
Barry’s tea, an Irish tea company, is reviewing its sponsorship of Greyhound races following the recent revelations revealed by the Irish TV company RTE.
The RTE Investigates programme raised concerns about the treatment of dogs and the culling of Greyhounds. Barry’s Tea has said it is ‘appalled’ by the standards of care revealed by the programme.
It was revealed in the report that the Irish Greyhound industry is breeding 1,000 percent more puppies than it needs.
An online petition has been signed by over 36,000 people calling for Barry’s Tea to end its sponsorship.
A spokeswoman for Barry’s Tea told the Irish Sun on Sunday, ‘We are very concerned at the revelations highlighted in the RTE Investigates programme which aired on Wednesday this week.
‘We are currently reviewing our sponsorship of the annual race in Curraheen Park, Cork.’
Other sponsors have revealed unease after viewing the programme including bookmaker Boylesports who said, ‘as a supporter of Irish greyhound racing [it] was appalled at the revelations in RTÉ’s programme.
‘The welfare of greyhounds and the sustainable development of the industry is the prime concern of most participants in the sector and it is unfortunate that the actions of a number of individuals should mar the sector as a whole.’
The RTE investigation broke down the figures for the dogs that were killed as, ‘“those who failed to produce qualifying times” (2,673); “failure to produce desired entry level times” (1,989) and an “unacceptable decline in performance” (1,326).’
ISPCA Chief Executive Dr Andrew Kelly told RTE it was concerned that the industry was breeding animals it did not need.
‘One of the main problems in greyhound industry is the overproduction of dogs,’ he said.
‘And we are opposed to any activity that uses animals or breeds large numbers, specifically to select the fastest, the best looking, the strongest animal, whether that’s for racing or showing, whatever. Because the welfare concerns come from what happens to those animals that don’t make the grade.’
Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, told the Irish Times the greyhound industry must reform itself if it is to continue to receive state funding, ‘It is abundantly clear also that in terms of the State funding that’s available to the industry – some €16 million – there needs to be a significant reorientation of that funding away from breeding towards greyhound welfare.’