The hidden horror of greyhound racing

Greyhound racing appears to offer a fun night out – the thrill of seeing beautiful dogs racing at top speed, the chance to have a quick flutter and make (or lose) a few quid, and the opportunity to have a drink with a few mates.

But the reality would shock animal lovers.

The hidden side of greyhound racing includes dogs kept for long periods in lonely kennels, painful injuries from racing and training, drug abuse, illness and neglect. Shockingly, thousands of surplus dogs die or disappear every year. The League believes dogs should not suffer or die for entertainment or for the profit of the dog racing industry.


Greyhound racing’s grisly discovery

Almost a decade ago, an investigation by a national newspapers revealed that once greyhounds were no longer able to make money for their owners, they were being killed ‘to order’ and dumped in a mass grave. A subsequent report into the welfare issues relating to greyhounds in England revealed the terrible conditions suffered by racing dogs. 

Government regulations were introduced in 2010 to address these problems, but they are woefully inadequate. The League spoke out against the regulations when they were published, calling them "little more than a crook's charter". In 2014 we produced a report demonstrating that, sadly, we were right.

League 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 was still 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.

In September 2015, The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee established a sub-committee to conduct a short inquiry into the welfare of racing greyhounds. Its 2016 report noted the greyhound racing industry’s reluctance to self-regulate adequately. But as this expert report into neglect, cruel training and widespread injury was effectively ignored by the government, dogs will continue to suffer at the hands of the greyhound racing industry.

3 Greyhounds racing
What is the League doing about greyhound racing?

Over many years the League has been calling for immediate action to address these issues, including:

  • an end to industry self-regulation
  • the mandatory publication of injury records
  • the creation of a central database for tracking dogs from birth, to retirement, to death.

However, due to the fact that far too many greyhounds continue to suffer unnecessarily and very little progress has been made on these issues, we are now also calling for a phasing out of the industry aiming for an eventual ban on greyhound racing

How can I help greyhounds?

  • If you live in an area where there is a greyhound track, Contact your MP and ask them to look into our concerns about abuse in the greyhound industry. 
  • Join one of our supporter groups to help us raise awareness about the hidden side of greyhound racing
  • Share this page on your social media


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