New Greyhound stats revealed

New stats reveal hundreds of dogs still dying each year because of greyhound racing.

Two Greyhounds standing with a Canine Carer at Dogs Trust Newbury
20th June 2023

Leading dog welfare charities repeat their call to bring an end to these unnecessary deaths as soon as possible. New industry stats out today show that a shocking number of dogs are still dying or being seriously injured while participating in greyhound racing.

Stats released by GBGB, the organisation responsible for licencing greyhound tracks in the UK, show that 244 dogs died or were put to sleep due to their participation in greyhound racing over the last year, and there were 4,354 injuries. This is on top of the more than 2000 dogs that have died or have been put to sleep over the previous four years.

There are two additional greyhound tracks in Great Britain that aren’t licenced under GBGB which means the number of dogs killed, put to sleep or injured is likely to be higher. These tracks are not required to publish their death and injury data.

This comes less than a year after three of the UK's largest animal welfare charities – Dogs Trust, RSPCA and Blue Cross – announced their joint call for greyhound racing to come to an end as soon as possible to put a stop to the unnecessary and completely preventable deaths greyhounds. This echoes the calls of other welfare organisations, including Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales.

Working together as the Cut the Chase Coalition, Dogs Trust, the RSPCA, Blue Cross, Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales have worked with the greyhound racing industry for many years to try to improve conditions for the dogs involved in the sport. While this has led to some improvements, there are still significant welfare issues for racing greyhounds which have not been resolved and cannot be resolved.  

The Cut the Chase Coalition believes greyhound racing is inherently dangerous for the dogs involved as running at speed around oval tracks causes significant injury to many dogs, and in some cases the injuries are so severe that it is necessary to euthanise the dog.

Further to this, the coalition has concerns at every stage of a racing greyhound’s life including issues around inadequate welfare standards in kennelling and transporting the dogs. Some of the dogs used in racing are kept in poor, barren conditions, with little if any enrichment and fed a poor diet. The reviews also highlighted concerns around the general health of the dogs including the number and severity of injuries sustained during racing.  

There are also serious issues around the racing of greyhounds in extreme weather and the number of puppies that are unaccounted for between birth and racing registrations, so often referred to by the sector as the "wastage". 

Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Blue Cross, Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales want to see an end to greyhound racing as soon as possible.

In response to the publication of this new data, Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, says

“The release of these new stats highlights further why greyhound racing must come to an end in the UK as quickly as possible. It is unacceptable that so many greyhounds died or were put to sleep over the last 12 months, and many more injured, all in the name of entertainment.

“While GBGB will argue that the number of deaths and injuries has been reduced, it is not enough; one death or serious injury is one too many. For those lucky enough not to lose their lives through racing, many instead face being housed in poor conditions, with little or no enrichment.

“Greyhound racing must come to an end as quickly as possible to stop these completely avoidable deaths and serious injuries. We remain committed to protecting the welfare of these dogs until this happens.”

Emma Slawinski, RSPCA Director of Policy, Prevention and Campaigns, said:

“These figures show, yet again, the inherent danger to greyhounds of participating in racing.

The risk of death and injury posed to greyhounds as well as the reliance on the rehoming sector are just some of many concerns associated with the industry. We have long been committed to working with the industry to improve the welfare of these dogs.

The coalition believes that all dogs deserve a good life, however, the current approach to greyhound racing is incompatible with this. The only way to protect greyhound welfare is to phase out the sport across the UK.” 

Chris Burghes, Chief Executive of Blue Cross said:

“Another year and another set of dreadful figures which demonstrate unacceptable injuries and deaths.

Britain’s dog-loving population would never choose to put their own pets at risk on a racing track or subject them to the conditions many experience off the track. Why, in 2023, is it still seen as an acceptable form of entertainment to exploit and endanger these greyhounds?

Following on from many years of GBGB failing to deliver on their promises to improve welfare for these wonderful dogs, action is needed now. We reiterate our call to the Government to bring in a phased end to greyhound racing and allow animal welfare organisations to step in and care for these dogs.”

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