RACING GREYHOUNDS INQUIRY: Government acknowledges more should have been done by the Greyhound industry | Dogs Trust

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RACING GREYHOUNDS INQUIRY: Government acknowledges more should have been done by the Greyhound industry

Dogs Trust urges the Government to legislate

The Government’s response to the EFRA Committee’s inquiry on the welfare of racing greyhounds has been published today, 21 June 2016. Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is pleased that the Government has acknowledged that more should have been done by the Greyhound industry since the introduction of the 2010 Regulations to demonstrate its commitment to being an open and transparent self-regulator of the sport. However, the charity is concerned that the Government will not go far enough in its ongoing review of the Regulations and is urging the Government to amend the Regulations to better protect the welfare of racing greyhounds.

Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, Paula Boyden, comments:

“Like the EFRA Committee, we welcome the review of the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010 currently being undertaken by Defra. However, we strongly support the EFRA Committee’s call for clarification from the Government on when this review will be completed and any actions taken forward. We are extremely concerned that the Government will simply rely on industry commitment rather than making legislative changes to tackle the issue. The industry has not demonstrated effective self-regulation to date.”

 

 DOGS TRUST RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • We urge the Government to extend the 2010 Regulations to cover all trainer’s kennels. Although the Government has a non-regulatory agreement with the industry to develop a standard for trainer’s kennels, we are extremely concerned that there is no requirement for this to be used by the independent greyhound sector. Although the government states that welfare conditions at private commercial kennels can be investigated under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, investigations under this Act are reactive rather than proactive. Independent trainer’s kennels do not require licensing nor inspection.

 

  • 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 – and 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. We are adamant that the regulations must be extended to cover trainer’s kennels for both GBGB and independent trainer’s kennels.

 

  • Dogs Trust strongly believes that the regulations must be amended to require the publication of essential welfare data relating to injury, euthanasia and rehoming. We believe that approximately 2,500-3,500 greyhounds are unaccounted for every year in the UK, but as statistics are not published by the industry the true scale of the problem is difficult to assess. We are concerned from the Government’s response that Defra is relying on a non-regulatory industry commitment from the trade to publish annual summary statistics from 2018. Without this being a regulatory requirement, we are extremely concerned that this could be reneged upon and there will also be no requirement for independent greyhound tracks to publish statistics. We also question why the statistics will not be published until 2018 when the data is already available.

 

  • In light of the popularity of the sport and the significant turnover it generates the charity believes the onus should be put on bookmakers who profit from greyhound racing to contribute financially to improving welfare standards. Currently some, but not all, bookmakers pay a voluntary levy for greyhound welfare, yet the EFRA inquiry states that the bookmaking industry made a net profit of £237 million from greyhound racing in 2014. We strongly support EFRA’s call for a commitment from the Government on what further action will be taken if sufficient welfare contributions aren’t voluntarily made by the industry.

 

Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, adds:

“Legislative changes to the Greyhound industry are long overdue and Dogs Trust urges the Government to proactively make amendments which would bring about much needed welfare improvements in the industry. 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.  ”

*Please visit https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/whats-happening/issues-campaigns/greyhounds/greyhound%202015.pdf  to view the Dogs Trust report. To rehome an ex-racing Greyhound please visit www.dogstrust.org.uk


 

Notes to Editors

Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and has a network of 20 rehoming centres across the UK, and one in Ireland, which care for nearly 17,000 dogs every year.

Dogs Trust is working towards the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.

For interviews, footage and stills please contact the Dogs Trust press office:

[email protected] DD: 020 7833 7709

[email protected] DD: 020 7833 7657

Dogs Trust is working towards the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.