The Greyhound Industry: Don't bet on fair treatment

The Welfare of Racing Greyhound Regulations (2010) were brought in after huge pressure from charities, MPs, media and the public to ensure that the industry ‘cleaned up its act’ and that the welfare of the dogs involved was better protected.  However, at the time, Dogs Trust and others, warned that the regulations did not go far enough to address welfare concerns, particularly as the regulations focused on self-regulation of the industry on only one aspect - the track.  Five years on, we are now absolutely adamant that the regulations and the Greyhound Board of Great Britain are failing to deliver the improvements that we need to happen if all Greyhounds are to be protected.

Disappointingly the secondary legislation, introduced in 2010 (The Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations), only focused on welfare measures at the track (where greyhounds spend just 10% of their time). These Regulations do not provide any legislative protection for greyhounds during breeding, kennelling, transportation, and retirement.  The Government stated in its summary of the consultation that it was satisfied the Animal Welfare Act provided sufficient protection in these areas. Yet much of the industry's activity is behind closed doors and without regular independent inspections it is very difficult for the enforcement agencies (RSPCA, Police and Local Authorities) to apply the relevant legislation.   The Irish Government introduced greyhound welfare legislation in 2011 which specifically addressed the keeping, trading, transporting, rearing, breeding, training, housing, racing or coursing of a greyhound and goes way beyond UK legislation in specifically protecting greyhounds from cradle to grave. The enforcement of the legislation is the responsibility of the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) and Irish Coursing Club (ICC), two semi-state bodies.

Currently the scope of the regulations only covers the welfare of greyhounds when they are racing at a track, where they spend less than 5% of their time. The Regulations need to be extended to the trainers and breeders kennelling facilities.  These out of sight premises, where greyhounds spend the majority of their time will continue to evade scrutiny if this void is not filled.  

A voluntary approach hasn’t worked.  If we are to protect and improve the welfare of racing greyhounds, the regulations need to be extended. 

Our investigation reveals why.

The Greyhound Industry: Don't bet on fair treatment PDF 15.76 MB