The Blog

Gentle Greyhounds Forced To Race During Fireworks & Thousands Unaccounted For Each Year

I wrote a previous blog about how rescuing a greyhound will benefit your mental and physical health. The breed is generally gentle, kind and unaggressive.

'Animal Welfare'

We still have many race tracks, where races are transmitted for the betting shops and online. Greyhounds are bred for the racing industry for gambling. As per a Telegraph article, "..It continues to draw crowds, generating a £1.3 billion off-course turnover for bookmakers in 2014. There are 24 racing tracks licensed by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), as well as five independent or 'flapper' tracks, with around 15,000 greyhounds actively racing."

We are a country of animal lovers and yet we let animals be pushed into a trap when fireworks are going off and they are visibly terrified in the video - please watch the short video of them being forced to race when fireworks are going off just this week, in 2016. Trudy Baker, from Greyt Exploitations, a group that is against greyhound racing and provided the video, says, "The commentator even acknowledges some dogs are nervous. Despite the provisions in the Animal Welfare Act, these dogs are subjected to environments where they clearly suffer. It is perfectly legal for these dogs to be subject to obvious distress and suffering without any form of protection." She also recalls,"There was a man who killed an estimated 10,000 greyhounds over a 15 year period, with a bolt gun to the head, as per an article in the Guardian from the time. He was getting £10 per dog to do this."

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 states that it is an offence to subject your dog to unnecessary suffering. Section 4 refers to the prevention of harm.

"Prevention of harm: Unnecessary suffering

A person commits an offence if--

(a) an act of his, or a failure of his to act, causes an animal to suffer,

(b) he knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the act, or failure to act, would have that effect or be likely to do so,

(c) the animal is a protected animal, and

(d) the suffering is unnecessary."

Thousands of Unaccounted For Greyhounds Every Year

The league against cruel sports says, "The hidden side of greyhound racing includes lonely kennels, painful injuries and often neglect. Thousands of surplus dogs die or disappear every year, yet no laws require the industry to publish these figures." It also covered in a report, The State of Racing in Great Britain that, "Racing dogs spend 95% of their time in small, barren kennels without social contact. Those that are housed in pairs are kept constantly muzzled which is highly distressing for them. Many are neglected and suffer fleas, worms, untreated injuries, malnutrition and dental problems. Poorly maintained tracks and racing frequency cause painful, and often lethal, injuries such as broken backs and shattered limbs. Shockingly, the industry is allowed to keep injury records secret. And at least 10,000 dogs are deemed surplus to requirements every year. 8,000 are retired racers, the rest are young dogs that didn't make the grade and thousands are unaccounted for each year. Some are abandoned, some killed crudely, others sold for dissection."

So is this an industry that it is managing its own self regulation and policing? There is a self-governing body, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB). It states on its website that, "The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) cares passionately about greyhound welfare and is committed to working to raise standards of care still further.... The GBGB supports retired greyhounds in a number of ways and in 2013 donated £1.4 million to the Retired Greyhound Trust, which rehomed 3,742 ex racers in that year alone." That is good, that they put money towards the greyhounds finding homes and they may well be doing their best to do so and to provide for their welfare. The only thing is, that according to an article in The Telegraph from August this year, there are 9,000 that are retired, so what happens to the rest? "The Greyhound Forum, which represents eight major dog charities, estimates that 3,700 of a total 9,000 retired greyhounds are 'unaccounted for' every year.... To put this into context, outside the greyhound world, around 5000 unwanted stray dogs are euthanased annually by UK local authorities. The fact that suspected euthanasias of greyhounds alone account for almost this number again is shocking." And yet, we continue to allow greyhound racing in this country. We banned fox hunting in the UK years ago and yet allow this to continue.

My personal experience comes from having an adorable (of course ex-racing) greyhound and from having fostered - the last one cowered in the corner of the room when she arrived, she was so terrified.

It is happening and this is a reality in the UK today. Don't just hear it from me - with every statement I have made, I have linked through to articles saying the same thing - I just pulled it together. The industry is 'self regulated' and yet we still see all these dogs being bred and thrown out every year with many thousands unaccounted for - hardly good, respectable animal welfare in a 'developed' country. Why does the government not end this practice, like it banned fox hunting or at the minimum improve the conditions and lives of the dogs?

* Video provided by Greyt Exploitations