Animal welfare groups the League Against Cruel Sports and Greyt Exploitations have called for the UK’s most prestigious greyhound race to be banned.

A field of 192 dogs, plus 17 in reserve, have competed in five rounds of the English Greyhound Derby in Nottingham for the chance to reach Saturday’s final and the chance to win the £100,000 top prize.

The call to ban the race comes in light of fresh figures, released by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, showing a total of 932 racing greyhounds either died or were destroyed last year – of those a total of 242 died or were put down at racetracks.

The figures also report 4,963 injuries were sustained by racing greyhounds last year.

Nick Weston, Head of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“The English Greyhound Derby represents everything that is wrong with greyhound racing – gentle dogs forced to run around a racetrack at the expense of their health, with many risking injury and death in the fast lane.

“A ban on greyhound racing would save many thousands of greyhounds across the UK from being caged, given performance-enhancing drugs and forced to run to the point that many sustain broken legs, develop heatstroke or suffer heart attacks.”

Animals are housed in poor conditions, carted around the country to compete for prize money and are forced to race at the expense of their health and ultimately their lives, the League adds.

Greyhound racing is on its last legs as an increasing number of people learn about the suffering and death of dogs at the hands of the entertainment industry.

Trudy Baker, coordinator of Greyt Exploitations, said:

“Despite the prize money and glamour surrounding the English Greyhound Derby, the industry cannot hide its rapid decline whereby two of the tracks hosting the derby over the last three years have closed – Wimbledon in 2017 and Towcester in 2018 ­– after only being in business for just three years.

“The trainers all know the risks when racing dogs on dangerously configured tracks. Kevin Hutton, who trains finalist Magical Bale, has admitted to having at least one dog destroyed - a 19-month-old puppy called Robbies Hawk - after it broke a shoulder at Towcester’s first bend.

“The stakes are high – you bet, greyhounds die.”

Eight greyhound tracks have closed in the last nine years – including Wimbledon in London and Hall Green in Birmingham. Plans were lodged last year to demolish Belle Vue in Manchester, the country’s oldest greyhound stadium.



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Notes to editors

  • For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected]
  • The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).
  • Greyt Exploitations is a non-profit making organisation which seeks to raise awareness of the cruel and inhumane treatment of greyhounds in the UK. The organisation campaigns for stronger protections for greyhounds and for greyhound racing to be outlawed.