Get Behind the Track, in video!
By Paul Cooney
A newly launched video documentary series from the Irish Greyhound Owners & Breeders Federation seeks to give the general public more accurate insight into the day-to-day lives of those who work and participate in the greyhound racing industry.
The videos on Racing Greyhounds Of Ireland YouTube channel can be found across all social media outlets by searching under #BehindTheTrack or #OurGreyhoundsOurLives and feature industry participants across the many and varied aspects of the sport.
Commencing with celebrated Irish Welfare Award recipient Fionnuala Carey at her kennels in Croom, the thus far released videos also feature GAA legend Jimmy Barry Murphy on his life in greyhounds while in the latest instalment, our own Pat Guilfoyle joins Veterinary Surgeon Denis Beary to dispel many of the mistruths perpetuated by detractors.
Launching the series, IGOBF Chairman Damien Matthews declared: “This campaign addresses recent high-profile misrepresentations portrayed unfairly in the media and shows exactly how the greyhounds we love are reared, fed, trained and cared for during their racing careers and in their retirement.
"The videos show how greyhounds love to race and are bred to run but they also are amazing pets and give back so much to their owners. We will be releasing one new video a week across all our social media channels using the hashtag #OurGreyhoundsOurLives and we hope that the fair-minded people in our society will judge our industry from them.
"We felt there was a strong need to correct the distortion of facts about greyhound racing from recent misrepresentative attacks which have greatly hurt the greyhound community, the vast majority of whom care for their dogs with the highest welfare standards."
The video series will highlight little, if anything, new for those within the greyhound industry for they are already acutely aware of misrepresentation which gathers momentum so fervently in the world of social media.
Opposition to greyhound racing, while not unique amongst animal related industries in modern society, has become a very lucrative pursuit for many so-called “charities”, who take an aggressive approach to fundraising while their care for the animal itself seems to lack the same fervour, if harbouring any at all!
They can be all too convincing for the general public, however, as in the case of the high-profile UK based Caged Nationwide whose founder appeared as one of several questionable contributors to RTE’s Prime Time Investigates programme on the greyhound industry. Appearing as Rita James, which is one of at least four known aliases (not including a myriad of Facebook profiles), the Caged founder has never filed any public accounts for her “charity”, has no evidence of actually rehoming any greyhound, owns no kennels and her only registered business premises is an office above a corner shop, a profile which is all too common among such groups.
Pedalling mistruths or sensationalising the transgressions of one to tarnish all, are expected behaviours of such detractors while advertising their donation button but when such misrepresentation makes its way to the corridors of Leinster House, the greyhound community have every right to feel aggrieved.
If like me, and going about your daily business while hearing some eejit spout lies about something they know nothing about, there was probably a time where you thought to yourself, sure let them off, no-one will believe them anyway. Well, that time has well passed for if social media teaches us nothing else, it has shown that some people will believe anything!
Witnessing Social Democrat TD Holly Cairns present a lurcher to the gates of the Dail while claiming it to be a greyhound was a prime example of her belief that she could make people believe anything. A stunt in promotion of her Bill to cease government funding to greyhound racing, she never once ceded that racing’s allocation of funds comes from a betting levy which is generated from within the sport itself. No, she maintained unqualified social media standards within her exalted position and labelled it public funds. We all face challenges in whatever industry we pursue but we are all entitled to be truthfully portrayed before subjected to any judgement. The greyhound community are resilient and will continue to refute all incorrect allegations and the #OurGreyhoundsOurLives video series will give a true insight to what sharing life with greyhounds is all about.
Greyhounds don’t use social media or watch Oireachtas Tv, they want a life doing what comes most inherently natural to them, with a couch and household to command when they hang up the racing muzzle. The best placed people to ensure this on their behalf is the community of greyhound carers who add a day’s work to their ongoing lives, 365 and 24-seven! Meet some of those people in the video series on #BehindTheTrack or #OurGreyhoundsOurLives.