The blazing (and deadly) heat of summer feels long gone and the words “Winter is coming” were uttered more than once at Swindon’s Greyhound Stadium on Saturday night as protesters gathered outside. With the sun setting not long after we arrived, the temperature quickly dipped in to single figures. That wasn’t enough to deter local campaign group Stop Swindon Greyhound Racing and the League from standing up and speaking out against the cruelty of the greyhound industry though. Nor was the stadiums attempt to silence us with darkness by turning off the streetlights around the entrance to the stadium.

Despite the best efforts of the stadium, passion and a few extra layers of clothing helped us to keep our smiling faces on as we shared our knowledge of the darker side of the greyhound industry. The regular horn blasts of support – including more than one taxi driver dropping people off at the stadium - let us know that locals in Swindon are not supporters of this cruel 'sport'.

With fading light making it increasingly difficult for passing cars to see our signs we called time on what had been a very positive protest. Mental note – we must invest in portable flood lights for the next one! 

Surprise, surprise, as several of the protesters pass back past the stadium on the way home the street lights have been switched back on! It seems we can add road safety to the list of things greyhound racers value less than their own profits and survival then.

Whilst greyhound racing to some may seem to some a perfectly innocent and fun event, there is a hidden side to the sport which would sicken any animal lover. Underneath the excitement of seeing beautiful dogs race at 45 mph around a track is the abuse and ill treatment. Treatable health problems such as fleas and worms are not given any attention and dogs can be put down for minor injuries because it is not deemed economical to help them recover properly. Profit should never be more important than life.

The self-regulated greyhound industry admitted at least 1,013 racing greyhounds were killed last year but the real figure is likely to be much higher. Swindon alone has had 86 incidents of injured greyhounds since January 1st 2018. Our message for those attending the track, the organisers and ordinary members of the public was clear. Enough is enough, we must end greyhound racing.

So what can you do to help bring an end to greyhound racing?