A company in Cheltenham has won the contract to develop a new software system to trace the lives of all greyhounds in Ireland - ten months after it emerged that thousands of these dogs are culled every year.
The tender was awarded to Event Log Ltd by the Irish Greyhound Board and will cost €245,000 to build and involves €92,200 in licensing fees each year.
When developed the new system will closely track each tattooed dog after it is 12-weeks old.
The tender said the development work only "needs to concern itself with racing greyhounds at this stage" but that it will record the death and euthanasia of saplings; the export of animals to destination countries and it should allow owners and trainers to update life events in a dedicated online portal.
Last year an RTÉ Investigates documentary, Greyhounds Running for their Lives, revealed the contents of a confidential report commissioned by the IGB which calculated that 6,000 greyhounds were being culled each year because they were not fast enough.
The documentary also broadcast footage of incidents of greyhounds being brought to knackeries to be shot. Across the country this service was offered for as little as €10 per animal.
After the programme the IGB committed to delivering the new traceability system and increasing the amount it spends on welfare.
However a number of high-profile sponsors still withdrew support for the sport, it suffered a loss in attendance figures and in December announced the cessation of funding to four tracks.
The winning company that has already developed an animal identification system for the British Horse Racing Authority and last November won a contract with an estimated value of at least €260,000 to digitise the anti-doping work of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board.
The contract will last for five years and Event Log Ltd beat two other bidders during the EU-wide tender process.
The new system will also feed off racing and anti-doping records and in time hopes to connect with veterinary and retirement home records.
The traceability system will be underpinned by the Irish Studbook database kept by the Irish Coursing Club and link up with sales records and data kept by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.
In a statement, the IGB said it has been seeking to introduce such a system for a number of years.
"The system will allow for the recording of key life events in the life of a racing greyhound. These events will include birth, sale, acquisition, death, loss, treatment for disease and injury, race entry, retirement, rehoming and loss/or theft.
"The system will provide 'real time' information on the status of each racing greyhound," it said.
The IGB said the current Covid-19 crisis was likely to impact on the work but the objective is to have the system operating by the end of 2020.