University College Dublin (UCD) purchased 212 live greyhounds to be euthanized and used for teaching and research purposes in the school of Veterinary Medicine over the course of six years, reports Conor Nealon.
This was revealed in a recent report from Grey2kUSA Worldwide, in conjunction with The League Against Cruel Sports.
 
Figures compiled in the report show that UCD was second only to the Royal Veterinary College in London in terms of the volume of greyhounds used over a six year period. The London college recorded the use of 300 greyhound cadavers, while Liverpool University was ranked third using 95 greyhounds since 2006.
 
UCD ended the practice in 2013, and now use euthanized greyhounds with the, “express consent of the owner”, according to a university spokesperson. 
 
The Dean was unable to comment on the impact which this has made on the provision of education within UCD.  
 
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports approves of the change, and accepts that the issue existed only when the dog was not injured or did not have to be put down.
 
Thousands of greyhounds, both retired racers and those who don’t make the racing grade, simply disappear from records, or are never recorded at all, and are undoubtedly killed each year. 
 
The issue exists in UCD only as a bi product of the industry at large which suffers from a distinct lack of regulation.
 
The conditions endured by these aforementioned dogs are untold due to the self-regulatory nature of many independent tracks, including Great British Greyhound Board registered tracks.  
 
When looking at the greater issue within greyhound racing, it becomes apparent that the UCD dogs are comparatively well treated.
 
The dogs are ensured a pain free death and are, “treated with great respect,” according to one veterinary student who knows how fortunate UCD students are to have access to such an important learning resource- a far cry from the calls of “slaughter” and “experimentation” raised by some.
 
The greyhounds provide the ideal subject for dissection as they generally escape the years of cross breeding undergone by many breeds, thus ensuring a perfect anatomy for the students to learn from.
 
The fact that the dogs are essentially identical is of great advantage to the students and something which would be lacking in the use of donated household pets.
 
The figures surrounding the retiring of racing greyhounds provide chilling reading, as highlighted in the greyhound charities most recent report: "in 2007 the APGAW reported that a minimum surplus of 13,478 were produced by the regulated greyhound industry in England and Wales." 
 
The exact number of unregistered surplus greyhounds is unclear within this industry, however it certainly augments the number of those registered greatly.
 
The Retired Greyhound Trust (RGT) works across Britain to re-home these racing dogs, however they are facing an uphill battle as over 112,000 stray and abandoned dogs were picked up from July 2012 to July 2013 in Britain, a quarter of which were sent to re-homing centres.

The competition for a new home is stiff for greyhounds, which are often shoved aside for more convenient pets.
 
A change to the treatment of greyhounds in Ireland and UK is not in sight, as many of the improvements needed outlined in Lord Donoghues 2007 industry commissioned report, are still ignored in the name of profit.
 
Charities such as Grey2KUSA Worldwide, the League Against Cruel Sports, and the Irish Council Against Blood Sports continue to campaign for reform within the greyhound industry.

Photos: Liza/ Flickr