Welsh Government to launch consultation on phasing out greyhound racing

0
93
Greyhound racing
Image by MICHOFF on Pixabay

On Thursday 15 February, the Welsh Minister for Rural Affairs confirmed that she has now responded to a recent Petitions Committee. Bar one, all recommendations from the Committee were accepted, or accepted in principle – including action for a phased ban on greyhound racing in Wales.

The Senedd petition backing a ban was signed by more than 35,000 people, and led to the Petitions Committee publishing a report which called for greyhound racing to be phased out – a recommendation supported by all but one Committee Member.

The announcement follows campaigning on the issue from the RSPCA, Hope Rescue, Blue Cross, Dogs Trust and Greyhound Rescue Wales, who are all part of the ‘Cut the Chase’ campaign.

“So long as this sport is allowed to continue, dogs are needlessly put at risk of serious injury and death all in the name of entertainment”

Dr Samantha Gaines, head of the RSPCA’s companion animals department, said, “This is a huge moment for dog welfare – with the Welsh Government committing to a consultation on cutting the chase, by phasing out greyhound racing in Wales.

“With no vets at the track in Wales, and no requirement to publish statistics on injuries or deaths, it’s hard to gauge the true scale of welfare problems caused by greyhound racing in Wales. However, so long as this sport is allowed to continue, dogs are needlessly put at risk of serious injury and death all in the name of entertainment.”

Wales is one of ten countries in the world – including all other UK nations – where commercial greyhound racing continues in 2023. Unlike England, Wales has no specific statutory regulation or laws governing greyhound racing, and its only remaining racing track is not licensed.

greyhound eyes

The RSPCA, however, believes that licensing and regulation will not “offer sufficient protections for greyhound welfare”, and that phasing out the sport is the only solution. The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), on the other hand, is set to make the case for better regulations and licensing as opposed to a ban.

Mark Bird, Chief Executive Officer of GBGB, said, “We welcome the Minister’s statement, which outlines the importance of regulation of the greyhound racing industry and how this leads to improved welfare standards.

“We will continue to make the case for greyhound racing in Wales to be regulated and subject to the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010 through registration with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain. In doing so, we will ensure the welfare of greyhounds is maintained and is strengthened through our own long-term welfare strategy, A Good Life for Every Greyhound.”

“We welcome the opportunity to continue to make the case for improved greyhound welfare through increased regulation”

He added, “All tracks licensed by GBGB must adhere to the regulator’s Rules of Racing which seek to uphold the very highest standards of greyhound welfare and integrity. There are over 200 Rules covering all aspects of how the sport is run and regulated including how greyhounds are cared for when they are at the track, at home in their trainer’s residential kennels, when being transported and into their retirement.

“Our licensed sport, which places the welfare of greyhounds as its highest priority, welcomes the opportunity to continue our engagement with the Welsh Government and Members of the Senedd on this issue. Any decision must be based on robust evidence and data, and we welcome the opportunity to continue to make the case for improved greyhound welfare through increased regulation.”

A debate concerning the petition is due to take place on 8 March in the Senedd.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here