According to the tourist brochures, Ireland is a land of literature, music, pints and friendly people -- but one of its darker secrets is that it is also the puppy farm capital of Europe. Due to weak legislation and effectively, no regulation, dogs can be bred in Ireland in battery-farm operations (small cages, cardboard boxes, darkened disused farm buildings, and worse) that have been condemned internationally for their cruel conditions and the poor health and quality of the dogs produced. If you live in Ireland, you have probably seen the images of dogs and puppies taken in appalling conditions during raids on such operations over the past two years. If you live in the US, Canada or UK and have checked out the internet for a purebred puppy, you'll probably have seen where these puppies end up -- sold to you through brokers as puppies from 'champion Irish dogs'. The broker will usually say their cousin/sister/best friend back in Ireland breeds these dogs. The Irish Kennel Club registration is usually faked. The brokers make a fortune, as do the puppy farms back on the 'ould sod', who operate in a grey area where taxes aren't usually paid and nothing is spent on ensuring the pups are healthy or humanely kept.
In 2004, after a series of particularly horrific raids, the Irish government formed a working group to try and tackle this problem. Many months later, the group submitted a report and a solid series of recommendations ( http://www.environ.ie/DOEI/DOEIPol.n...ument&Lang=#I9 ), all based on enhancing existing legislation so that action could be taken immediately (taking the primary legislation route could take years).
That was last autumn. Since then, a new Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, has dragged his feet on implementing the report ordered by his predessor in that office, offering a series of excuses that suggest the goal is to do nothing at all about these 'farms', not in the lifetime of this government.
So now it's YOUR chance. A demonstration will be held this Thursday, 23rd February, from 5pm-6pm at the Kildare St gate of Dail Eireann to show that Irish people care about this issue and are sick of this country having the appalling reputation as Europe's puppy farm capital. Organisers will be asking the Minister to act on the report and will hand in this online petition
Be sure to sign it if you haven't. If you can, come along on Thursday, bring your dog, and make sure this issue can't go off the government agenda.
Feel free to crosspost anywhere.