Welfare of greyhounds in Ireland

8 January 2013 
Brian Simpson (S&D) , Arlene McCarthy (S&D)  


It has been brought to our attention that the practice of breeding and racing greyhounds in Ireland results in thousands of dogs each year either being killed due to injury or as a result of an excess number of dogs, or being abandoned once they have outlived their racing life. Moreover, greyhound breeders, trainers and rearers in Ireland can apply for support from the EU, inter alia via rural development funds as a farm diversification activity.

1. Does the Commission believe it is right to subsidise greyhound breeding for racing, particularly when raising animal welfare standards is one of the Common Agriculture Policy’s fundamental roles?

2. Would the Commission consider banning greyhound breeding, as an unsustainable practice, from receiving funding under the future Rural Development Fund for 2014-2020?

3. Can the Commission outline the action it intends to take to strengthen animal rights for greyhound dogs?

4. Given that the EU funds Irish greyhound breeding, will the Commission raise concerns with the Irish authorities over the lack of regulations in place to protect the welfare of greyhounds?

Answer given by Mr Cioloş on behalf of the Commission
28 February 2013

The Commission would like to inform the Honourable member of the European Parliament that no mention of support for greyhound breeding is made in the Irish Rural Development Programme for 2007-13.

However, due to the shared management principles in place for the implementation of the EU rural development policy the Commission cannot impose outright bans on support for economic sectors. This rule remains in place also for the next programming period 2014-2020.

In the European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015a study on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices is foreseen for the year 2014.