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Committee chair and Fine Gael TD Pat Deering said the two bodies would be asked at a meeting next Tuesday about what structures they had put in place to deal with the recent revelations about the mistreatment of greyhounds. We will be looking to see how much of this will be ring-fenced on animal welfare and rehoming.

Only a small amount is ring-fenced currently and I personally think that needs to be ramped up considerably to deal with the matters that were raised last week.

Lure Coursing Your Greyhound

The committee will also hold further hearings on the matter in September when they may ask officials from the Department of Agriculture and animal welfare groups to appear. Both companies had said over the weekend that their sponsorship of the sport was under review, but in separate statements on Tuesday they confirmed they would be ending their relationships with various races around the country. We look forward to the implementation of urgently needed animal welfare measures by the Government.

The FBD sponsorship is also thought to be for a relatively small amount. However, the decision of two household names to pull their sponsorship from the sport is significant, industry sources said, as the sport has struggled to attract sponsors beyond bookmakers in recent years as attendances and live television coverage have dwindled. The move may increase the pressure on more important sponsors such as bookmaker Boylesports.

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Illustrated History of Greyhounds

Lunchtime Latest. The Romans used hounds for coursing. In coursing, the speed and agility of sighthounds are tested against their prey, the hare. Dogs apparently did not compete against one another, as in modern coursing. Ovid describes coursing in the early first century AD: the impatient greyhound is held back to give the hare a fair start read an excerpt. He tells his readers that the purpose of coursing is not to catch the hare, but to enjoy the chase itself: "The true sportsman does not take out his dogs to destroy the hares, but for the sake of the course and the contest between the dogs and the hares, and is glad if the hares escape.

The more opulent Celts, who live in luxury, course in the following manner. They send out hare finders early in the morning to look over such places as are likely to afford hares in form; and a messenger brings word if they have found any, and what number.

Ancient Egypt

They then go out themselves, and having started the hare, slip the dogs after her, and follow on horseback. When they conquered Britain, the Romans brought with them European hares--more suitable for coursing than the local wild hares. The Arab peoples have kept greyhound-type dogs for several thousand years. The Saluki, which almost certainly shares with the greyhound a common ancestor, is still used as a hunting dog by some Arabs today. Arabian Bedouin for centuries have been devout Muslims, and so follow ritual restrictions against contact with dogs.

But they don't consider their Salukis to be dogs and so don't believe that contact with them is unclean. The Quran permits the eating of game killed by hawks or Salukis but not by other dogs. The Pashtun tribes in Afghanistan make the same distinction between Saluki and dog, so this probably goes back long before the birth of Islam in the seventh century. Bedouin so admired the physical attributes and speed of the Saluki that it was the only dog permitted to share their tents and ride atop their camels.

In early Arabic culture, the birth of a Saluki ranked in importance just behind the birth of a son. The Bedouin use Salukis to hunt gazelle, hare, bustard a type of bird , jackal, fox, and wild ass. They consider Salukis the Gift of Allah to his children. Greyhounds nearly became extinct during times of famine in the Middle Ages. They were saved by clergymen who protected them and bred them for the nobility. From this point on, they came to be considered the dogs of the aristocracy. In the tenth century, King Howel of Wales made killing a greyhound punishable by death.

King Canute of England established the Forest Laws in , reserving large areas of the country for hunting by the nobility.

Welcome to the Greyhound Knowledge Forum

Only such persons could own greyhounds; any "meane person" commoner caught owning a greyhound would be severely punished and the dog's toes "lawed" mutilated to prevent it from hunting. In William the Conqueror introduced even more stringent forest laws. Commoners who hunted with greyhounds in defiance of these laws favored dogs whose coloring made them harder to spot: black, red, fawn, and brindle.

Nobles by contrast favored white and spotted dogs who could be spotted and recovered more easily if lost in the forest.


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It became common among the English aristocracy to say, "You could tell a gentleman by his horses and his greyhounds. Hunting in Europe and Asia with specially bred and trained dogs was the sport of nobles and the clergy, in large part because they owned or controlled much of the land suitable for hunting. There's little evidence that the common man in the Middle Ages used dogs to hunt.

Hunting with sighthounds in this era hadn't changed much since the time of Romans like Arrian. It was a sport, not the serious pursuit of food, which pitted the hounds against the hare and against each other.


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Dogs in general were at times looked down upon in the Middle Ages, while greyhounds were highly valued. Vincent of Beauvais, in the mid- thirteenth century, identified three types of dog: hunting dogs, with drooping ears, guard dogs, which are more rustic than other dogs, and greyhounds, which are "the noblest, the most elegant, the swiftest, and the best at hunting.

The greyhound was used as an emblem, often in tombs, at the feet of the effigies of gentlemen, symbolizing the knightly virtues faith , occupations hunting and generally the aristocratic way of life. Where tombs are concerned, the greyhound always was associated with knighthood along with the lion, symbolizing strength and never with ladies, who generally were associated with the little lap-dog symbol of marital faithfulness and domestic virtue.

The greyhound is the first breed of dog mentioned in English literature. The monk in Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th century The Canterbury Tales reportedly spent great sums on his greyhounds:. Langley presented this book to the future King Henry V of England. Henry reportedly was a big fan of greyhounds; perhaps Shakespeare knew this when, two centuries later, he had Henry speak:.

Greyhound coursing tips: Welfare issues and how to avoid them

The game's afoot; Follow your spirit: and upon this charge, Cry — God for Harry! England and Saint George! We don't know for certain where or when the term greyhound originated. It probably dates to the late middle ages. It may come from the old English "grei-hundr," supposedly "dog hunter" or high order of rank. Another explanation is that it is derived from "gre" or "gradus," meaning "first rank," so that greyhound would mean "first rank among dogs.


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  • A minority view is that the original greyhound stock was mostly grey in color, so that the name simply refers to the color of the hound. Renaissance artists considered the greyhound a worthy subject. The works of Veronese, Uccello, Pisanello and Desportes, among others, depict greyhounds in a variety of settings from sacred to secular, with an emphasis on the hunt. Coursing races, with dogs chasing live rabbits, became popular during the sixteenth century.

    These rules established such things as the hare's head start and the ways in which the two hounds' speed, agility and concentration would be judged against one another. Winning was not neccesarily dependent on catching the hare although this did earn a high score. Often the hare escaped. Wagers were commonly placed on the racing dogs.

    Read the Renaissance rules of coursing , taken from a sixteenth century book by Gervase Markham, with my interpretations of their meanings. These rules were still in effect when the first official coursing club was founded in at Swaffham, Norfolk, England. The rules of coursing have not changed a great deal since this time.

    Unlike Elizabeth, King James I preferred hunting to hard work. He was an avid fan of greyhound coursing.