In amendment No. 5, we seek to insert in page 25, between lines 13 and 14, under the heading “List of countries to which export is permissible”, a provision to the effect that the Minister would prescribe from January 2020, by regulation, a list of non-EU countries which meet minimum standards with regard to the welfare of greyhounds and that the Minister would take into account the past record of the relevant country relating to the welfare of greyhounds, the welfare of animals in that country generally, the existence in the relevant country of enforceable welfare protections, the monitoring and enforcement in the relevant country and the standards of care and management in the country.
I am delighted to be able to contribute briefly on the Greyhound Racing Bill 2018. This Bill has been a long time coming before us. As other Deputies said, in 2014 we had the Indecon report which highlighted many severe deficiencies within the industry, in 2015 we had the report by the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine and in July 2016 we had the Morris review of anti-doping and medication in Ireland commissioned by Bord na gCon. All three reports, sadly, found major issues with governance and regulation in dog racing.
The Minister and Minister of State are hoping to introduce the greyhound industry (amendment) Bill shortly. It has undergone pre-legislative scrutiny and so forth, but there are rumours within the animal welfare community, including among the ISPCA, Dogs Trust and other organisations, that there will not be a white list of countries with low welfare standards to which the export of greyhounds will be forbidden.
Some months ago, his colleague, the Minister, Deputy Creed, told me that three greyhounds were exported to Argentina in 2013, 33 in 2014, 3 in 2015 and 7 in 2016, even though greyhound racing has ceased in Argentina. He also said that no greyhounds are exported direct from Ireland to Pakistan during 2016. There are persistent rumours that those exports are taking place. Previously, the Minister mentioned the EU TRACES system which covers the export of animals throughout the European Union. Nevertheless, rumours persist that there are significant exports to Pakistan, where the animal welfare regime is deplorable.
Will the Minister be adopting the Welfare of Greyhounds (Amendment) Bill, a Bill which I myself sponsored, and including it in the Government’s legislation?
I am delighted to have the opportunity to move this important legislation, the Welfare of Greyhounds (Amendment) Bill 2017. The Bill amends the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 by inserting a new Part 4A. It provides for control of the export of greyhounds and for the publication of a white list of countries to which the export of greyhounds under licence will only be permissible. The Bill will also make it an offence for persons to export greyhounds to countries not on the white list and will provide for related matters. I thank Ms Suzie Carley, the executive director of Dogs Trust, and her staff for their powerful advocacy and research on this Bill and for bringing this matter to the Legislature and the public. Dogs Trust has been in Ireland since 2005 and has re-homed 7,000 dogs since 2009. Indeed, they re-homed almost 3,000 in 2016 alone.