I set up the Stop Swindon Greyhound Racing in 2018 to raise awareness about the cruelty behind greyhound racing in the town. Like most other campaign groups, our group has a presence outside the track on Saturday evenings to engage with the people visiting and we occasionally do outreach events in the town.

Many people don’t know about the cruelty behind the industry because much of the abuse happens away from the track. In February this year, a trainer from Swindon was jailed for 20 weeks for neglecting his eight greyhounds, three of which were found dead at his house with one dying a week later. They had been severely neglected yet one had been passed fit to race at the Swindon track only a few months before.

Stop Greyhound Racing group - rally

As with some other tracks, the greyhound racing stadium in Swindon is shared with the local speedway team, which leases the track. The speedway is important to the town and, sadly, the greyhound racing subsidises it. It is almost seen as a necessity to keep the greyhound racing going to support the continuation of the speedway.

Planning permission was granted around ten years ago to the owners of the stadium, Gaming International, to redevelop it. In that time, Gaming International has built houses on and around the site but have failed to redevelop the stadium. We have objected to revisions to the planning application twice, in 2018 and in 2019, using the objectives set out in the Swindon Borough Local Plan but the council dismissed our concerns and granted the revisions.

Council meeting photo - Stop Greyhound Racing group

We are now petitioning the council using their e-petition scheme. If we achieve 1,500 signatures, the council will debate our request that they work with Gaming International to redevelop the site with the speedway track only and, instead of the greyhound track, that they include a facility that will benefit the community such a velopark or athletics track. Achieving the council debate will also ensure that the petition receives press coverage in the local paper. This will bring more attention to our cause.

The petition runs until June 3. It is similar to the government petition site in that you have to sign up for verification purposes and you then receive an email to confirm your signature. It takes two minutes to sign up to the petition and no spam is received. You don’t have to be a Swindon resident to sign.

Having an outdated greyhound track is not helpful to the perceived poor image of the town. A greyhound track encourages gambling and the consumption of alcohol and those who visit, including many young children, are exposed to both, as well as the possibility of seeing greyhounds injured, sometimes fatally.

Gaming International reported a loss in its last set of accounts and its track record on redeveloping stadia so far is poor. We believe that the only way to ensure the long-term survival of the speedway track is to exclude the greyhound track and diversify the use of the stadium.

Please help us to stop the cruelty.

Thank you.

Stephanie Poyntz

Stop Greyhound Racing group logo