The chairperson of the Irish Greyhound Board has said that it’s “understandable” why sponsors withdrew funding following the RTÉ Investigates programme, which aired last month.
The programme raised concerns around animal welfare issues in the greyhound racing industry.
Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Frank Nyhan, said that dog owners would have been “horrified” by what they saw on the programme.
“Anybody who ever owned a dog would be horrified by what they saw,” he told the committee.
“It’s understandable why people would have withdrawn their sponsorship,” he added.
Last week, three high-profile sponsors withdrew their sponsorship of the greyhound races in Cork, namely Barry’s Tea and FBD Insurance. Cork’s Red Mills, an animal feed company, announced that they would be withdrawing their sponsorship of the sport in general, not just the races.
Mr Nyhan added that the loss of funding has damaged the greyhound industry.
“In so far as that relates to the greyhound industry, it of course is damaged,” he said.
“The manifestation of that damage has been in relation to the withdrawal of a number of high profile sponsors.”
“Fortunately, that has been confined to a number of sponsors, a large number of other sponsors have stayed on board.”
He explained that a new model of sponsorship will be put in place, which will invite sponsors to participate in the care of the dogs.
“Essentially, we’re going to invite sponsors to become involved in the care aspect of the industry,” Mr Nyhan continued.
“And to any sponsorship that we get from sponsors in that regard will go toward the care of greyhounds and the prize fund will be separate from that.”
He told the committee that the loss of funds doesn’t just damage the industry, it affects dog owners and trainers.
“The withdrawal of sponsorship because of the model of the industry, in fact, affects owners and trainers because sponsorship money goes straight to them,” he said.
“So the loss of that money is a loss for them in that regard.”
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