Greyhound racing, so glamorous and so exciting
According to the Greyhound Board, the sport is enjoyed by three million people and involves thousands of greyhounds. The Board goes on to say, “The sport is well run, properly regulated and the welfare of the dogs is always the main priority of those involved. Some anti-greyhound racing groups spread stories alleging particular greyhound or greyhounds have been maltreated and on that basis protest that greyhound racing should be banned. Many of the “horror stories” spread by these groups are either urban myths, or actually originate in other countries, not in the UK. It is certainly true that is some countries, animal welfare standards are far lower than they are here. Britain is known as a nation of dog lovers, and the people involved in greyhound racing are no exception to this. They love their dogs and are certainly not in it for the money – owning and training greyhounds is hardly ever a route to riches! They are in greyhound racing because they love the breed and get huge satisfaction from seeing their dogs racing and enjoying what they were born to do.”
So if all of this is true, why are animal welfare charities making such a fuss about greyhound racing?
The League against Cruel Sports says greyhound racing is a secretive self-regulating sport which in spite of two damning reports and a new set of animal welfare regulations, is failing to meet even the most basic needs of the dogs.
The League’s investigations show that the dogs spend most of their lives, when not racing, in small kennels without stimulation or social contact. Some are kennelled in twos, but they are forced to wear muzzles so they don’t bite each other from being stressed.
The League’s website reveals an appalling catalogue of neglect that is not acted upon by the regulatory board which is allowed to keep its findings secret.
Many of the dogs are flea ridden and neglected. They are not regularly wormed and their injuries frequently go untreated. Malnutrition and dental decay causes much stress and much suffering and, as if that wasn’t enough, their wretched existence is made worse by having to run on poorly maintained tracks which can cause lethal injuries like fractured spines or limbs.
The League says at least 10,000 dogs are deemed surplus to requirements every year. They claim 8,000 are retired racers, the rest are young dogs that didn't make the grade. British charities re-home many surplus dogs, but thousands are unaccounted for each year. Some are abandoned, some killed crudely, and others sold into vivisection.
The League has a greyhound manifesto and a petition asking for more clarity and accountability in the sport, if you love greyhounds, please sign it. (see link at the end of this article)
The Greyhound Racing Board hits back at the accusations with the same old rhetoric. It starts as always with the question, "So, what would happen if greyhound racing was to be banned?"
The following is unaltered from The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) founded in 2009
“A lot of people would lose their jobs and millions of people would lose access to a very enjoyable pastime. Worse than that, as has been seen before, banning could mean activities going underground and operating with no regulation at all – the opposite of what these protestors are trying to achieve.
If greyhound racing was to be banned, what would be next? Protestors would likely just move on to try and get other activities banned as well - horse racing, farming, fishing, dog shows, pet breeding and even pet ownership.
Many of those who want to see greyhound racing banned, would also want to see the entire domestication of animals outlawed.
We could expect to see the end of the greyhound breed in Britain along with large scale unemployment as stadia shut and trainers and their kennel staff are forced to seek alternative employment. More importantly, as many as thirty thousand greyhounds would need to be retired at once and with rehoming schemes unlikely to be able to cope with such a large number, many greyhounds would likely be put to sleep.”
Since when was animal suffering a reason for someone keeping a job? And why should an enjoyable pastime take precedence over good animal welfare?
To claim that banning cruel greyhound racing would put pet ownership in jeopardy is just ludicrous, yet I guess these people are clutching at straws.
SURREY UNION FOXHUNT this time.
On the 31st of December the Surrey police were called by saboteurs about a fox kill following a drag hunt. And, true to form the police sided with the hunt. The Sabs had this to say on their Face Book page,
‘After years of not investigating assaults on saboteurs and doing nothing about constant illegal hunting, the Surrey police have sunk to a new low and without any investigation have issued a statement saying that the fox killed on New Year’s Eve accidentally crossed a false trail laid by the hunt, and the killing was accidental hunting.’
The saboteurs report as to their version of events has been copied in full,
“We started off with the hunt by Redhill plantation, with 3 vehicles and two motorbikes out we covered the area well. The hunt milled about in the area for a little while whilst sabs covered various exit points. One of the hunt buggies later tried to run a Sab down upon leaving the farm - this buggy had no front registration and was carrying passengers on a public road (illegal?) As the hunt left, so did we, unfortunately there wasn't a lot of public footpaths so we had to keep eyes on the hunt from a distance. We lost the hunt momentarily however a Sab heard the hounds in cry so notified us of the position at Hook Lane opposite New Barn Farm. As we arrived we looked down through the woods and seen 4 hounds, as we got closer one of the sabs noticed a fox laying lifeless on the ground with hounds still attacking (we have video evidence)We quickly moved down to retrieve the fox for evidence and to get the hounds off whilst the police were on route. We scouted around the area taking pictures of blood marks and fur that was scattered around, fur was found on fencing approx 100 meters from the kill with a clear struggle path which shows the fox was chased. The body was still warm and shortly after placing him/her in the land rover he/she released their bowels proving a fresh kill. Masked up terrier men arrived soon after to pick up the body of the fox (thus destroying evidence) without knowing we got there first.
From the post mortem: "The vet observed that the fox had been killed by a large mammal, most likely a large dog with numerous puncture wounds to legs, throat and flank - most significant was a massive trauma to the rib cage that had crushed it and separated it."
By this time one police officer arrived on scene and really wasn't much use, this officer refused to speak to the hunt. “
Is the SURREY UNION FOXHUNT and SURREY POLICE one and the same?
Perhaps we could be forgiven for thinking so. This is the same hunt that sabs say claimed in October last year, that a deer their dogs savaged, had not been attacked at all, but had torn its belly open on a patch of brambles after saboteurs had frightened the animal into running. The sabs told a very different story of the event, they said that the hunt hounds had in fact chased the deer, which was eviscerated by the dogs before they could get there to protect it. The police were called and the hunt were questioned and vindicated on the spot. No charges were brought and the evidence, in the form of the dead deer, was left with the hunters to dispose of as they saw fit. Two sabs were arrested for trespass at the time.
This is a report of just two hunts, two hunts and yet all of this mayhem. This state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue. The police MUST do what they are paid to do and uphold the Law. There are many reports from monitors and saboteurs across the UK who are telling us the same story, that the police are acting as lackeys and body guards and the hunters are getting away with murder, literally.
Use your vote to end hunting cruelty forever
That the hunters are desperate is obvious, as a letter which has been circulated to pro hunt groups on FaceBook shows. It is a rally call for Vote OK supporters to deliver leaflets for Neil Carmichael in the marginal seat in Stroud, where they hope their efforts will secure a pro hunt Tory win. It is one of many rally calls across the country for a huge effort in the marginals where there is chance of returning an MP who will vote for repeal.
David Cameron has already stated he will hold a free vote on repeal if the Tories are elected for a further term, and as Labour has promised to support the ban it’s no wonder the hunters are going all out to secure a Tory win.
Page 23 of the Tory manifesto states,
Country lover, amateur naturalist and fox lover fighting to preserve the ban on hunting