In a sign of just how weird international trade can be in our globalized world, the UK Sunday Times reports (pdf) that “Bord na gCon, the Irish greyhound board, wants to export dogs to China as part of an international expansion that could result in it operating racing stadiums there.”

Greyhound racing is big business in Ireland, generating €500 million, or about $711 million, a year to the Irish economy. Greyhound exports alone are valued at €40 million (about $56 million) a year. Ireland exports greyhounds to nations such as the U.S., Continental Europe, Australia, and Pakistan.

Now Bord na gCon wants to export to China, a nation not known for having high standards regarding animal cruelty. “A number of countries which export greyhounds to China are already under pressure to stop because dogs that do not race well are routinely killed,” says Orla Aungier, of the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “If Irish greyhounds are sent to China it would be almost impossible to monitor their welfare. We are urging Bord na gCon to reconsider their plans and to think about how devastating this move will be for the welfare of Irish greyhounds.”

The possibility of a dark future awaits Irish greyhounds bound for China. For one, they will be involved in the cruel sport of dog racing, in which they face long hours of confinement, great risk of injury, and neglect, among other abuses.

When they are no longer profitable, there are no animal welfare laws to protect them in China. There’s nothing to keep them from ending up as one of the 2 million cats and dogs estimated to be killed annually in China for their fur, or from being slaughtered for food, or suffering any other cruel fate.

Dog-lovers are not taking plans to ship Irish greyhounds to China lightly. Last week, on St. Patrick’s Day, protesters with the American-European Greyhound Alliance picketed the Irish embassy in London and the consulate in Boston, demonstrating against the planned export.

GREY2K USA has launched a petition decrying the shipping of Irish greyhounds to China. Bring some luck to these dogs who might otherwise have very unlucky futures, and take action to save the Irish greyhounds.

Photo Credit: American-European Greyhound Alliance