It is very hard to determine exactly how many greyhounds are bred, earmarked, trained and registered to race and as a consequence how many are weaned out, culled and killed before they reach the tracks.
Fortunately the Irish greyhound racing industry is semi-state owned and government funded and therefore liable under the Freedom of Information Act, unlike the UK racing industry which is privately owned. At least 80% of greyhounds licensed to race on British tracks are bred in Ireland and these numbers can give us a clear indication of the unnecessary over breeding simply to supply the UK market.
Sadly, the life of a greyhound is not worthy of recording individually in Ireland and we are told only the numbers of litters bred are recorded. Fortunately, we can still determine, on average, how many puppies are born from these litters as the British Greyhound Racing Board has stated – ‘bitches whelp a manageable sized litter of between six and ten’ – therefore, by the industry’s own admission, there are on average 8 pups per litter.
Further to a request under the Freedom of Information Act. The Irish Greyhound Board states there were 4,318 litters bred in Ireland during 2006, so a total of 34,544 pups were born out of 4,318 litters.
Of those 34,544 pups, the Irish Greyhound Board further sates, only 23,618 were earmarked some 16 weeks later and even more alarmingly – only 20,916 were given Identity Cards making them ‘eligible to qualify for racing’ the following year. This calculates to 13,628 being ‘unaccounted’ for – presumed culled as puppies because they wouldn’t chase or deemed too slow.
This does not mean that the 20,916 pups who were ‘eligible to qualify for racing’ went on to contest a race, as many thousands will not have ‘made the grade’ during trials or having performed poorly in just one or two races will have been considered of no commercial value and disposed of.
The semi-sate owned Irish racing industry benefit from many EU grants and subsidies available for basic training and breeding, such as the Farms Diversification Scheme
Ironically in this leaflet, promoting grants for breeders under the Alternative Enterprise Scheme – it actually states ‘Presently, there is an oversupply of greyhounds in Ireland’
The situation whereby 13,628 greyhounds are culled simply because they have become a fiancial liability in a highly profitable industry is ethically wrong. To provide EU grants and subsidies for the breeding of these puppies – paid for by other member states – is fundamentally AND ethically wrong.
To view the FOI response,please click here
Irish bred litters – 2006 & 2007 – click on image to enlarge