London’s last remaining greyhound track will hold its final race meet tomorrow before being torn down and replaced with a football stadium, a move welcomed by the League Against Cruel Sports.

The closure of the 89-year-old track in Wimbledon follows a number of stadium closures across the UK after sales to watch the cruel sport of greyhound racing had dwindled for several years.

Eduardo Gonçalves, CEO for the League Against Cruel Sports said: 

“We are delighted that real sport with willing human participants will finally be replacing the cruel and outdated sport of greyhound racing at Wimbledon. The stadium’s closure marks a significant step in the right direction, but more still needs to be done to stop the thousands of greyhounds being subjected to cruelty and exploitation in this murky industry.

“If you love dogs but go to dog racing, then sorry but you need to wake up. I enjoy watching dogs racing against each other in the park for the pure enjoyment – but this is very, very different to what you get at the race track where money is king and the dogs are nothing but a commodity to be used and disposed of.”

Racing greyhounds are kept in small, barren kennels with no social contact for 95% of the time. They sustain painful injuries from racing and training, drug abuse, illness and neglect. Shockingly, thousands of surplus dogs die or disappear every year.

“Current regulations are totally inadequate and don’t protect the welfare of racing dogs. There is a culture of secrecy and cruelty which continues because the government has continuously allowed the industry to regulate itself.

“Despite years of campaigning for industry improvements too many greyhounds still continue to suffer unnecessarily. There is no viable alternative but to call for this archaic practice of racing animals for sport to be phased out,” Mr Gonçalves continued.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • Please contact the League’s Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email press@league.org.uk for any image, comment or interview requests

  • 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 www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).
  • League Against Cruel Sport’s report  The State of greyhound racing in Great Britain: a mandate for change, produced in conjunction with GREY2K USA Worldwide in 2014, shows that the life of a racing greyhound is filled with abuse, neglect and early death, including:
  • Racing dogs spend 95% of their time in small, barren kennels without social contact. Those that are housed in pairs are kept constantly muzzled which is highly distressing for them.
  • Many are neglected and suffer fleas, worms, untreated injuries, malnutrition and dental problems. Industry sanctions against those who treat dogs in this manner are feeble and ineffectual.
  • Poorly maintained tracks and racing frequency cause painful, and often lethal, injuries such as broken backs and shattered limbs. Shockingly, the industry is allowed to keep injury records secret.
  • At least 10,000 dogs are deemed surplus to requirements every year. 8,000 are retired racers, the rest are young dogs that didn't make the grade.
  • British charities re-home many surplus dogs, but thousands are unaccounted for each year. Some are abandoned, some killed crudely, others sold for dissection.