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.
Country lover, amateur naturalist and fox lover fighting to preserve the ban on hunting
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