Friday, July 2, 2010

IRISH BREEDING BOTTOMING OUT

They have a better way with words than I.......and it sums up the whole affair very well.

As it stands we will know what the Bill has in store today at 2.30 when it is debated in the Dail

Keep up the Lobbying.........the Bill will be voted on next week and we need to keep up the Pressure!

If you join this site     www.contact.ie      you can email every TD by filling out ONE letter and pressing ONE button..........saving lots of time and aggravation.     Thank you for your help......with luck we will come out of this with a outcome suitable for the unique needs of our Greyhounds

......over to proper writers........

Irish breeding bottoming out?

Anecdotal evidence has suggested for a few years now that Irish breeding of greyhounds has slowed down, and the facts are backing this up now. The figures have been on a downward curve since 2006, the height of the breeding boom. And, of course, since 2008 Ireland has been in recession with unemployment at an all time high (depending on what source you choose to believe). Traditional bases for greyhound ownership such as the building and farming sectors have been disproportionately affected by the economic tsunami that engulfed Ireland, and breeders have subsequently lost many outlets for their 'product'.

Add this to the disaster that is known as the UK greyhound industry, and things have rarely looked so bleak for breeders in the land of saints and scholars.

In 2006 Ireland produced 4,481 litters of greyhounds. Year-on-year decreases of 14%, 6%, 11% and a projected 9% this year mean that for the first time in decades, the Irish will possibly produce less than 3000 litters in 2010. Based on the number of declared litters in 2010 so far, we are on course to produce 2,844 litters of greyhounds. Compared to the 2006 zenith, Ireland is now producing just 63% of what it was. A drop of over a third in just 5 years.


And things do not look like getting any better for breeders and, of course, stud keepers. Politics will play a key role in the industry in the next couple of years.

The Irish Government is in a precarious position. Polls suggest the governing Fianna Fail party would be obliterated in a general election, and they are determined to stay in power for their full term. They do not have overall control in government however, in fact many feel it is a 'tail wagging the dog' scenario. Junior coalition partners the Green Party (with just 6 TDs compared to the senior party's 71 seats) have had Fianna Fail's pants down for a very long time.

Fianna Fail rely on on the Greens' support, and in return the Greens are pushing through every bit of loony left legislature they possibly can. Obviously the right to marry for post-transgender operation individuals is an important issue for the Greens, as are carbon taxes, water taxes, land taxes etc, but they are also pushing through a raft of legislation including a Wildlife Bill and a Dog Breeding Establishments Bill, acknowledged by all corners of the political spectrum as the thin edge of a nasty wedge.

The Wildlife Bill is a badly disguised anti-hunting bill, while the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill will have huge ramifications for Ireland's greyhound breeders. The bill gives 'authorised personnel' access to our properties. The 'authorised personnel' have yet to be specified but they are thought likely to include animal welfare personnel and anti-greyhound racing activists.

The problem with the bill is it is too generalised, and the wording means that anyone who owns 4 bitches older than 4 months of age will be classed as a breeder and will have to pay an €800 per annum fee as well as upgrading their facilities to meet a yet to be decided lofty standard.

Now as most readers will be aware, the vast majority of Ireland's greyhound breeders are 'small time'. Many will have just a couple of bitches in a kennel on their farm or in their garden. If they end up with a litter of bitches, they will be immediately in breach of the new rules and face financial penalties that they simply cannot afford.

This also affects greyhound owners and trainers. You would not need to be a 'big time' trainer to find your kennel has more than 4 bitches in it. Yet you will be classed as a 'professional breeder' if you do. You do not need to be registered with Mensa to work out that greyhound owners and trainers will simply decide to focus on dogs and ignore the bitches.

Bitches are already hard enough to sell for breeders but they will now become impossible to sell. And breeders will have some very tough decisions to make. Many will leave the sport. There is no doubt about that.

Have the Green Party really thought this through? Under the guise of 'welfare' they have actually created a situation that is far more dangerous to the welfare and even the existence of thousands of greyhound bitches. Having listened to many 'antis' over the years I feel they could not care less about whether dogs live or die. This is just a cause for them to follow before moving on to the next crusade. Only a few months ago on the national broadcaster RTE, an anti-hunt activist admitted to shooting dogs that came onto his land. These people are dangerous, and they have power.

stadia here, in fact the greatest stadium in the world is about to open in Limerick in October this year. But aside from the problem of filling these arenas with punters and putting bums on restaurant seats in the depths of a recession, Ireland's greyhound hierarchy now faces a massive political headache.

If the slowdown in the number of greyhounds born in Ireland does not 'bottom out' soon, there is the distinct possibility that racing managers will face a shortage of runners to put on their cards. Already this year one major track has been forced to put on several 5-runner races and the IGB is looking at cutting nights at some tracks.

Personally I have noticed the queues at schooling tracks is getting shorter by the week, and transporters tell me business is very slow.

We are at a crucial crossroads for the sport. Challenging times ahead.
This post first appeared on the Greyhound Star website on 25th June