Dogs Trust concerned over Defra's lack of commitment to improving Greyhound welfare

Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, is extremely disappointed at the Government's weak stance on legislating for much needed improvements to Greyhound welfare as Defra publish their Post Implentation Review of the 2010 Greyhounds Regulations. Having long campaigned for a review of current regulations, the charity are dismayed that only minimal changes may be considered by Defra to improve the 2010 regulations - with these unlikely to come into place until 2018 at the earliest.

Defra even failed to take heed of the recommendations outlined in the EFRA committee report, in June, which echoed Dogs Trust's own concerns surrounding the self-regulation of the industry and recommended a probationary period of two years continued self-regulation. The EFRA committee report hailed by Dogs Trust as a 'big step forward' for Greyhound welfare recommended that the 2010 regulations should be extended to cover trainers' kennels which has not been included as a recommendation in the Post Implementation Review.

Furthermore, in June 2015, Dogs Trust published the findings of an in-depth three month investigation into the conditions of Greyhound training kennels in the UK, where Greyhounds spend approximately 95% of their time - yet which are not covered by current regulations. The investigation provided stark evidence that the existing 2010 regulations do not go far enough to address welfare concerns.

Dogs Trust, along with the EFRA commitee hoped that regulations would be amended to require the publication of essential welfare data relating to injury, euthanasia and rehoming. We believe that approximately 3,500 Greyhounds are unaccounted for every year in the UK, but as statistics are not currently published by the industry the true scale of the problem is difficult to assess. The approach being taken by Defra is to rely on a non-regulatory agreement with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain to publish statistics from 2018. However, this will not cover the four independent tracks in England and sadly there have been no attempts by Defra to attempt to amend this as a result of the latest regulation review.

Dogs Trust took in 200 ex racing Greyhounds in 2015 - we have capacity to rehome many more and know the dogs are out there but we need them to be made available to us by the industry for rehoming.

Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, explains:

“We are deeply concerned that not only have Defra failed to take heed of expert advice from welfare charities and the EFRA committee but they have even ignored the results of their own consultation on the initial findings of the Review of the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010. 87% of respondents believed that more action must be taken to safeguard the welfare of greyhounds at trainers kennels where they spend the large majority of their time, with 61% wanting this included in the Regulations. The Government are not treating this issue with the severity it deserves – their proposed changes are minimal and lack the urgency needed to improve the industry. We have long campaigned and will continue to campaign tirelessly to ensure that these much needed changes to improve and regulate greyhound welfare are implemented.”

Click here to view the Dogs Trust report.

To rehome an ex-racing Greyhound, click here.