Greyhound racing

Is greyhound racing cruel?

To many, greyhound racing appears to offer a fun night out – the thrill of seeing beautiful dogs racing at top speed, the chance to place bets and to socialise with friends.

But the reality would shock animal lovers.

In reality, dogs used for greyhound racing are kept for long periods of time in kennels and often alone. Intensive racing and training results in injuries, including broken toes, torn muscles and soreness. Furthermore, racing dogs suffer from drug abuse, with many greyhounds testing positive for class A drugs.

The League believes dogs should not suffer or die for entertainment or for the profit of the dog racing industry.

Greyhound racing cruelty

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, though animal welfare charities still view them as inadequate. The League Against Cruel Sports spoke out against the regulations when they were published.

In 2014, the League report, ‘The State of greyhound racing in Great Britain: a mandate for change’, produced in conjunction with GREY2K USA Worldwide, demonstrated that the life of a racing greyhound was still filled with abuse, neglect and early death. The report found that:

  • 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 dogs do not receive adequate basic health care or care. Dogs were found to suffer from flea and worm infestations, 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 can cause painful and often lethal injuries, such as broken backs and limbs
  • They industry is not required to declare greyhound injuries
  • 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, killed crudely or 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 did not result in action from 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 and the installation of an independent greyhound welfare regulatory body
  • Greyhound racing should be required by law to disclose information on greyhound welfare, at a national and track level, to the public and an independent regulator on a quarterly basis
  • The creation of a central database for tracking dogs from birth, to retirement, to death

However, racing greyhounds continue to suffer unnecessarily, and very little progress has been made on these issues. Therefore, the League is also calling for a phasing out of the industry, with the eventual aim of a ban on greyhound racing

How can I help greyhounds?

Join the League in our endeavours to protect greyhounds. If you live near a greyhound track you can write to your MP to ask their view on greyhound racing and it’s cruelty. By joining our supporter groups or sharing this on your social media to express your concerns, together we can lead the way to a future without animals being persecuted in the name of ‘sport’.


Find out more

Watch The State of Greyhound Racing - A Mandate for Change video.