League Against Cruel Sports says it's time to stop greyhound racing
Over 1,000 racing greyhounds die or are killed each year, according to new figures by the dog racing industry.
It has also been revealed that racing dogs suffer almost 5,000 injuries a year, meaning one in every three racing dogs is injured.
The information comes from the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), which is the self-regulating body which governs registered greyhound tracks in the UK.
Its figures show 1,003 fatalities a year. 257 dogs are euthanised at track side on “humane grounds”, 348 because treatment was deemed too expensive, there was poor prognosis or no home was found, 67 were killed due to being “unsuitable for homing” and 55 died from “sudden death”.
Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said the figures show it is time to call a halt to greyhound racing.
He said: “Dog lovers around the country will be asking if one dead dog is too much to pay for a sport which is solely designed to give people something to bet on. Can this industry possibly justify 1,000 fatalities – a quarter of which actually took place at the track side? No they cannot.
“The language used by the greyhound racing industry shows they believe that over 1,000 dead dogs every year is an acceptable number. They claim they are showing care and attention to greyhounds, so it is deeply concerning to consider what they would consider negligent.”
He added: “We believe these figures disguise a life of suffering and a deplorable end for many of these dogs who are simply born to be raced. It’s time greyhound racing was consigned to the ranks of cruel sports which are no longer acceptable.”
Trudy Baker of greyhound campaigners Greyt Exploitations, suggested that the figures may be an underestimation of the problem.
She said: “The injury and retirement data is of no value unless it can be independently verified by the public. The industry has a moral duty to be accountable and transparent regarding each and every dog’s fate – by name – once they’re deemed a financial liability. Greyhounds are sentient creatures — not disposable gambling chips.”
There are only three greyhound racing tracks left in Scotland – Halcrow Stadium in Gretna, Thornton near Kirkcaldy and Shawfield in Glasgow.
Only Shawfield is registered with the the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.
The other two are known as flapping tracks, which often act as feeder stadia for bigger meets. The majority of racing greyhounds in Scotland compete at these tracks, which don’t require vets to be present or dogs to be tested for drugs.
This week the GBGB launched The Greyhound Commitment, an eight point agenda for the sport, covering animal welfare.
Mark Bird, managing director, said: “We are a country of animal lovers and sports lovers so it is vital that animal welfare is at the heart of greyhound racing. The Greyhound Commitment, sets out our intent that every greyhound that can be homed when it retires is successfully homed.
"Greyhounds make calm, gentle and loveable pets that are excellent with children and are extremely affectionate. When they retire from racing, many greyhounds are kept on as pets by their owners, breeders or trainers.
“Charities such as our partner The Greyhound Trust and others do amazing work in organising homes for greyhounds, but there is more to be done to meet our mission of every greyhound that can be homed, being homed.”