Dogs Trust welcomes Scottish consultation on greyhound racing

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greyhound racing

Dog charity Dogs Trust has welcomed the launch of a consultation into the future of greyhound racing in Scotland. The consultation comes after Mark Ruskell MSP proposed a Member’s Bill that would make it illegal greyhound racing illegal in Scotland.

According to figures by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s (GBGB), since 2018 more than 2,200 greyhounds died or were put to sleep because of racing on licensed tracks around the UK and over 22,000 injuries recorded.

While the number of fatalities has gone down in recent years – a fact GBGB cites as the result of “significant improvements we have achieved in welfare over the past few years” – Dogs Trust and other animal welfare organisations including RSPCA, Blue Cross, Scottish SPCA, and One Kind, are still calling for the end of greyhound racing across the UK, saying that the number of injuries and deaths remains unacceptable.

“In 2023, the Scottish Government consulted on licencing greyhound tracks. Following the consultation, it concluded that that was is a strong case for the introduction of a statutory licensing scheme for greyhound racing in Scotland,” Dogs Trust says in a statement.

“We believe the only option is to bring greyhound racing to a complete stop in Scotland and across the UK”

“However, Dogs Trust, along with many other organisations, does not believe that licencing tracks goes far enough to protect the welfare of the dogs involved in racing and instead wants to see greyhound racing come to an end.”

The organisations also raised concern over the welfare of racing greyhounds while off the track, citing inadequate kenneling and lack of enrichment, as well as puppies being unaccounted for and races taking place during extreme weather.

Following the launch of the consultation, Owen Sharp, Chief Executive at Dogs Trust, said, “We welcome this consultation on the future of greyhound racing in Scotland and appreciate the efforts of MSPs like Mark Ruskell who are working hard to bring it to an end. It is simply not acceptable that across the UK, more than 2,200 greyhounds have died or were put to sleep since 2018, and more than 22,000 injuries recorded, all in the name of entertainment.

“We worked with the greyhound industry for many years to try to improve the welfare of dogs involved in greyhound racing. However, it’s clear that progress has not been made quickly enough, or on a big enough scale to have any impact, and industry is a long way from ensuring the welfare of all the dogs involved. Therefore, we believe the only option is to bring greyhound racing to a complete stop in Scotland and across the UK.”

Greyhound racing
Image by MICHOFF on Pixabay

A spokesperson for the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), which regulates licensed British greyhound racing, said, “The Scottish Government has already run a full consultation on this subject in recent months, as part of its wider review of the licensing of animal activities.

“While we await the Scottish Government’s report on this, it is unclear what the rationale or justification would be for duplicating the extensive work already undertaken – particularly when there are so many other pressing priorities. As regulator for the licensed sector of our sport in Great Britain, we have been clear that greater regulation is the only way to safeguard greyhound welfare. A ban would only jeopardise welfare.

“We continue to work with the Scottish Government and others in Holyrood to show how a licensed sport can safeguard the welfare of racing greyhounds and ensure they receive far more protection than domestic pets.”

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