Racing Greyhounds

Posted on: 26 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Call for greyhound racing industry to investigate dog killing allegations.

Animal Welfare Minister Ben Bradshaw has called on greyhound racing regulators to launch an immediate investigation into claims that 10,000 greyhounds were shot when they reached the end of their racing lives.

The Minister was responding to allegations that greyhound owners hired a builders merchant to kill dogs with a bolt gun, an act that breaches the rules of the National Greyhound Racing Club.

Mr Bradshaw said, "The National Greyhound Racing Club must launch an immediate investigation into this matter. It must discipline or expel any members who have broken its rules by disposing of their dogs in this way."

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has formally requested a dossier from the Sunday Times which made the greyhound killing allegations. Government lawyers will study the evidence to see if any offences have been committed.

Mr Bradshaw said, "We've been working hard for some time to prepare secondary legislation under the Animal Welfare Bill that will improve the welfare of greyhounds used for racing. Government believes that racing greyhounds should only be put down by a vet."

He promised that if greyhound racers can't clean up their act, Government will intervene. "We have long felt that self-regulation within the greyhound industry is the most effective way of policing animal welfare in the sport. But greyhound racers should be in no doubt that they are drinking in the last chance saloon as far as self-regulation is concerned."

The Greyhound Forum hopes that an official enquiry will be held as soon as possible, and will be monitoring this closely.

The fate of racing greyhounds when they come to the end of their racing career has long been of concern to the Greyhound Forum, which comprises many of the biggest animal charities in the UK and Ireland. The group is calling for urgent action to regulate the greyhound racing industry and ensure that all greyhound racecourses work with welfare bodies to find homes for ex-racing greyhounds, to avoid greyhounds suffering the fate as reported in the newspaper.

“If the reports of the slaughter of thousands of greyhounds are true, the situation is simply intolerable," said Clarissa Baldwin, Chair of the Greyhound Forum. "We have been calling for regulation of the industry for a long time, and after reports like this emerge, it would be unforgivable if the sport’s governing bodies do not sit up and take notice. There have been past instances of horrific abuse of ex-racing greyhounds, which have resulted in prosecution, so there is no excuse for sitting back and ignoring this. The fate of greyhounds after their racing career is over should be at the heart of an enquiry.”

About 9,000 greyhounds retire from racing each year, usually between 3 and 4 years old, but lots never make the grade or retire younger due to injury. The Retired Greyhound Trust specialises in rescuing ex-racing greyhounds and cares for them until a loving home can be found.

If you would like to help, all branches needs volunteers for dog walks and to assist with fundraising. There are almost 60 branches across the of the UK, from the Isle of Skye to Jersey, so there's bound to be one nearby.

If you or someone you know is interested in adopting a new pet, why not give the RGT a call. Greyhounds can often live with other pets and children, and they only need two twenty minute walks a day.

Contact the RGT national office on 0870 4440673 to be directed to your local branch or find out more about greyhounds as pets or volunteering or visit: www.retiredgreyhounds.co.uk

More information about greyhounds as pets plus weblinks to greyhound organisations can be found at: www.dogstrust.org.uk

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