Greyhound Racing Ireland (GRI) / Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) today (Tuesday, 16 November 2021) launched a new Code of Practice that applies to any person who keeps, breeds, rears, trains, races, trades or transports a greyhound in Ireland.
The Code is the latest in a series of GRI care and welfare initiatives being progressed, including the provision of care and foster care centres, the introduction of an expanded inspection programme for greyhound establishments, the operation of a Greyhound Injuries Support Scheme, and the recent commissioning of the Rásaíocht Con Éireann Traceability System (RCÉTS).
Frank Nyhan, Chairperson of the Board of GRI, said the principal theme of the Code is that the welfare and care of a greyhound must at all times take precedence over the demands of the stakeholders and all those involved in the greyhound industry.
“The overriding theme of this Code is that owners or keepers must plan for the whole of a greyhound’s life,” he added.
Mr. Nyhan explained that GRI has invested significantly on its care and welfare programme during 2021 despite the impact on commercial operations during COVID-19.
He continued, “GRI plans over the next 12-18 months include a further expansion of the Care Centre/Foster Centre Programme and continuing to financially incentivise the rehoming of greyhounds in Ireland through additional supports though the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust (IRGT). From January to October 2021, the rehoming of 1,827 greyhounds has been achieved compared to 1,775 for the full year of 2020,” he added.
“GRI’S Welfare Team conducted 843 announced and unannounced inspections of greyhound establishments in the year up to the end of October. Additionally, Phase Two of the RCÉTS will add further functionality and reporting to the System when it is rolled out in 2022. This amongst other life events recorded, will include recording of injury data, including injuries that occur during official and unofficial trials at GRI stadia,” added Mr. Nyhan.
William Fitzgerald, GRI Veterinary Director, commented, “The launch of the new Code demonstrates how the care and welfare of greyhounds is an absolute priority for GRI. It is also underlines GRI’s commitment to implementing a broad and comprehensive programme of initiatives that further strengthen its level of direct engagement with owners, trainers and keepers across Ireland.”
Each section of the newly launched Code of Practice has been expanded compared to the previous Code. The Code features the addition of several new principles including a direction that all trainers and owners must maintain records, must be aware of their responsibilities under all laws/regulations, must avail of training programmes, and must plan of whole of greyhound’s life. The key sections of the GRI Code of Practice include the following:
- Housing must be designed, constructed and maintained in a way that ensure the welfare of the greyhounds, prevents the transmission of infectious diseases, prevents escape of greyhounds and prevents injury to either human or greyhounds.
- Greyhounds must be provided with an adequate amount of exercise for their overall health and wellbeing and must be appropriate for the greyhounds age, anatomy and behavioural pattern. Greyhounds must be given the opportunity to exercise outside of their kennel at least once a day.
- Enrichment and Socialisation must be provided for the greyhound at all stages of their life to enhance their wellbeing, permit them to live in many social environments and to increase their suitability for rehoming.
- Owners and/or Keepers must plan for the whole of a greyhound’s life and maximise opportunities for the rehoming of their retired greyhound. All efforts must be made to rehome greyhounds once retired and given the opportunity to spend the rest of their lives as pets.
- Those caring for greyhounds must possess the ability, knowledge and competence necessary to maintain the health and welfare of greyhounds. Owners/Keepers must regular check the condition of greyhounds, including their dental health.
- Each premises must have a designated Veterinary Practitioner that can provide assistance and treatment. Veterinary attention must be sought if greyhounds are showing any signs of ill health.
- A suitable animal health programme agreed with Vet is required of all owners/keepers including vaccination programmes and a control programme for endoparasites (worms) and ectoparasites (fleas, ticks etc).
- Owners must notify the ICC of the death of a greyhound. Both the owner and new owner must notify the ICC of the transfer or sale of any greyhound. Failure to do so is an offence under the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011
The GRI Code of Practice is available to download from www.grireland.ie/codeofpractice.