THE DEPARTMENT OF Agriculture is investigating the deaths of 11 greyhounds after their bodies were found in the back of a van on board an Irish Ferries vessel.
The dogs’ dead bodies were discovered just before the ferry docked in France on Monday. It is believed that the greyhounds suffocated in transit during the 14-hour journey to Cherbourg in France.
A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture said it is currently investigating this “very serious incident”.
“Department officials are liaising closely with the French authorities since this incident came to light”.
Bord na gCon, the organisation which regulates greyhound racing in Ireland, said it was “deeply shocked and horrified” by the news.
The board said it will be providing every possible assistance to the relevant authorities to determine whether there has been a breach of the EU Animal Welfare Regulations and to ascertain “why a routine operation involving the commercial transportation of greyhounds resulted in such suffering and unexpected mortality”.
Animal rights group AFAR took the opportunity to highlight general abuses within the greyhound industry, pointing out that dogs who have become unprofitable have been found “shot, mutilated, drowned, drugged, burned”.