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Calls to end Irish greyhounds exported to ‘brutal death sentence’ in Macau

2015 Irish Derby Final, Shelbourne Park, Dublin 19/9/2015.Ballymac Matt, left, wins the 2015 Irish Derby.Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Irish greyhounds are in demand from importers in Macau [INPHO/Ryan Byrne]
ANIMAL RIGHTS activists are once again calling on Ireland to ban the exportation of Irish greyhounds.

Protestors are desperate to stop dogs being sent to the notorious Canidrome racetrack in Macau.

Macau, a small peninsula in mainland China, is the home of Asia’s only legal greyhound racing stadium.

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Due to Chinese quarantine laws, as well as high population density, there is no space to breed greyhounds in Macau.

The ‘hellhole’ Canidrome race ground has a reputation for being the worst place in the world for greyhounds, with campaigner Albano Martins from the Society for the Protection of Animals (Macau) estimating up to 30 dogs are killed there every month.

If a dog is ill, injured or fails to place in the top three in five consecutive races, it is euthanised, which is why animal rights’ campaigners say every dog sent to Macau will inevitably meet a premature death.

For many years, Australia was the main importer of greyhounds to Macau.

However, Australia banned the export of greyhounds to China in 2013 after a lengthy campaign by animal rights activists, and now the Irish government are being urged to follow suit.

Greyhound trainers based in Ireland are thought to be profiting from the sale of greyhounds to Macau.

There are currently 20,000 greyhounds bred in Ireland every year according to estimates from greyhound shelter charity, Homes for Unwanted Greyhounds.

In May, Robert Green owner of the Banteer Schooling Track, Co Cork, attempted to export 24 young dogs to Macau.

The dogs were turned away from London’s Heathrow Airport, on the grounds that the crates they were being held in were in bad condition and not fit for transport.

Campaigners from Stop Exportation of Greyhounds from Ireland to China say the dogs are being sold for around €2000 each.

Pauline McLynn joins protestors outside the Department of Agriculture

Christina Hespe, campaigner for No Greyhound Exports, told The Irish Post the problem will only get worse due to the fact that English race tracks are being closed down and the Irish industry supplies them.

Dogs that are not considered fast enough to race in competitive Irish race tracks are still eligible for racing in Macau.

Hespe said: “The dogs that go to the Canidrome are second rate. They used to put them down, now they can sell them to China. It is a good way for breeders to get some money for nothing.”

The campaign to ban the exports of greyhounds to Macau has attracted support from celebrity activists such as comedian Ricky Gervais and former Father Ted actress Pauline McLynn.

McLynn joined Alliance for Animal Rights group outside the Department of Agriculture to protest about the exporting of greyhounds to race in Macau on May 4.

McLynn described sending greyhounds to Macau as a “brutal death sentence.”

She added: “There’s no adoption policy there in China, so when they’re sent there, that’s it.

“They will have a miserable and awful end to their lives and I just don’t think there’s any place for that in 21st century Ireland.”

Three animal charities in Ireland have also placed pressure on the Irish government to ban greyhound exportation to China.

In a joint letter to the Department of Agriculture, The Dogs Trust, ISPCA and The Irish Blue Cross said: “As a nation we have in recent years attracted adverse international coverage about the welfare of our horses – let us not go down the same route with the welfare of our greyhounds, a noble dog synonymous with Ireland.”

A petition calling on the Irish Government to stop the export of greyhounds to China has been signed by nearly a quarter of a million people from Ireland and around the world.

A correction was made to this story on Friday, May 20 at 10am at the request of Christina Hespe.  Ms Hespe was misquoted as saying that Irish tracks were closing, when she said that English tracks were closing down and the Irish industry supplies them.


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17 comments on “Calls to end Irish greyhounds exported to ‘brutal death sentence’ in Macau”

  1. Boston, USA

    Irish greyhounds should not go to Macau based on it's poor record. In the Boston area we used to have Wonderland Park in Revere, MA. The state made sure that the dogs were treated well. 5 years ago the voters of Massachusetts narrowly voted to ban dog racing in the state. Florida still has dog racing.

  2. Malcolm Bates

    Greyhounds are such loving and trusting dogs being taken advantage f in this horrible way.. We must put a stop this barbaric behaviour.

  3. Debra Halliday

    Thank you Ms. Corkery, for creating awareness with your informative piece. And to the unscrupulous of the racing world, along with fat cat Canidrome patrons, who give this horrific hell hole it’s heartbeat, I would suggest that you brace yourselves. Those of you with the power to deal with the devil, are the enemy. Thousands of us, from around the world, will succeed in closing you down. Say good-bye to the greyhound gravy train.

  4. eileen climie

    These dogs are the kindest sweetest animals you could wish for , I have been brought up my whole life with them
    They make great pets and deserve a chance to live and be loved

    Why does all the authorities ignore all our pleas ? This track is like sending the animals to a death camp , so all who turn a blind eye should know they have blood on their hands !
    Lets make them accountable please lets unite and stop it

  5. Janis M Jones

    I so hope that Ireland will follow the lead of Australia and ban any export of greyhounds to China. The people of Ireland surely can show compassion for such a wonderful breed of dogs.

  6. G. Molloy

    No tracks in Ireland are closing down. I presume you meant there is no adoption policy in China, rather than no adoption police.

  7. RJ

    It is not closing down tracks that causes the problem; it is the allowing of racing and racetracks that causes the problem. Please be careful what you say as a misguided statement like that will only serve to hurt more greyhounds, not help them. There are plenty of greyhound rescues that can easily place these hounds in family homes.

  8. RJ

    It is not closing down tracks that causes the problem; it is the allowing of racing and racetracks that causes the problem. Please be careful what you say as a misworded statement like that will only serve to hurt more greyhounds, not help them. There are plenty of greyhound rescues that can easily place these hounds in family homes if/when tracks shut down.

  9. Åsa Palm

    Greyhounds should not ve exported anywgere for racing!!!

  10. Dez

    There has not been a real lot of coverage by the Irish press on this matter, but it's trending on the interwebs. On 2 June there will be coordinated protests outside Irish embassies worldwide. Hopefully this will finally raise the interest of the media.

  11. John Fitzgerald

    Unfortunately, the present plight of unwanted Irish greyhounds is part of the bigger shameful picture of a greyhound industry that encompasses the scandal of live hare coursing, a practise outlawed in many jurisdictions, including Northern Ireland. It doesn't surprise in the slightest me that an industry that allows and encourages the capture and baiting of terrified live hares is prepared to stand by as greyhounds are despatched to a living hell thousands of miles away.

    In coursing hares are terrorised, mauled, and tossed about like broken toys for the amusement of gamblers and sadists. Wildlife rangers who attend coursing events file reports confirming horrific injuries to hares and video footage shot by animal welfare groups and coursing fans alike and posted on YouTube clearly show the cruelty.

    In addition to live hare coursing, there is widespread doping of greyhounds in Ireland, blooding of greyhounds on live cats, rabbits, and birds to enhance their performance, and cruel abandonment of greyhounds that have ended their sporting careers. Export to China is the latest method of unwanted greyhound disposal, one from which some people profit considerably, heedless of the suffering caused to the dogs they claim to love and care about so much.

  12. Trudy Baker

    Thank you for covering this story Claire and the Irish Post - I hope your readers are now more aware of the desperate measures taken by the Irish racing industry to prevent their dying business from going into further decline.
    Ireland supplies 80% of greyhounds racing on British tracks because they can produce a very cheap betting product - not only because Irish animal welfare laws are weak and unenforced but particularly so when the racing industry receives state subsidies from the Irish Government.
    I hope your readers will ask themselves 'Is it morally right to subsidies a cruel gambling industry while Ireland is in the throes of austerity'?
    Dogs sent to China - state subsidies - greyhounds over bred and destroyed in their thousands?
    Greyhound racing has no place in modern society and high time it was banned.

  13. Rita

    Dogs are NOT being sent to the Canidrome due to the closure of English tracks, this is very obvious as these tracks have been steadily closing for over a decade. The market for Irish dogs at the Canidrome recently began when Australias airlines, Quantas and Cathay both closed their doors on transports of dogs to Hong Kong after a massive live baiting scandal. This led to a shortage of dogs at the Canidrome, then Ireland became involved. Greyhound owners/trainers and breeders like Robert Green and his brother are happy to send dogs to their death, providing they make a quick profit.

    If people didn't support greyhound racing, the dogs would not be in this mess.
    Since 1926, when greyhound racing began in the UK, dogs have been exploited and destroyed, mostly puppies who don't make the grade and nothing will improve while people continue to support the racing industry.

  14. Elaine

    Thank you Claire and the Irish Post for covering this very critical animal welfare story and bringing it to pubic awareness. We do not have enough media coverage of these issues, they are all kept under ground and hidden, the media has a really important role to play here in bringing such stories to light so they can be debated and acted upon, so sincere thanks again Claire.

  15. Dez

    The Australian Government has not banned the export. It has the same policy as the Irish.

    The various state racing bodies made it a serious offence in 2011. However they never policed it. After the airing of the undercover ABC story on the 7:30 Report in December last year, it was Qantas who stopped supply by proxy when they refused to carry them to Asia. Cathay chimed by refusing to on ship to Macau from an Asian hub.

    The Government and the IGB should hang their heads in shame but I suspect they are hoping that Lufthansa will join Qantas, Cathay and Qatar to deny supply.

    Macau authorities have admitted that if Irish dogs can't be sourced, the track would close in under six months.

    So if Lufthansa, currently coping a social media backlash, come to the party, then Government and the toothless IGB get away without lifting a finger.

  16. Dez

    If Lufthansa stops carrying them, the Canindrone will close in under six months.

  17. christine elizabeth davies

    this should be stopped its barbarac and cruel please stop it


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