Are greyhound deaths a thing to celebrate?

According to the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), approximately 1,000* racing greyhounds die a year and nearly five times as many are injured. If I was responsible for this shocking statistic, I would be forced to take a long, hard look at myself.

It seems that the GBGB would rather celebrate its successes (whatever they are) with an annual black-tie awards dinner. This is how I found myself outside the annual GBGB awards at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, in the company of dedicated greyhound welfare campaigners.

Nick Weston, Head of Campaigns at the League at greyhound racing protest, Royal Lancaster Hotel

They came from different groups up and down the country, some who campaign on closing specific tracks, and others who campaign on a broader level. That in itself should be an impressive thing to see on a wet and windy Sunday night, but even more impressive were the dedicated protestors who made the journey all the way from Italy. Many of these campaigners also volunteer to rescue greyhounds and frequently witness the suffering of these dogs first hand. The variety of people at this event reflects the wide-ranging passion and concern for the dogs whose lives are put at risk for ’sport’.

Greyhound welfare campaigners outside the Royal Lancaster Hotel

An awards ceremony is an odd thing for the GBGB to host. If celebrating an industry that exploits and kills dogs isn’t contradictory enough, then celebrating the increasing threats to the racing industry definitely is. In recent years both the Wimbledon track and Hall Green in Birmingham have closed, and the future of Belle Vue in Manchester is in doubt. This is hardly something to celebrate – unless, like us, you wish to see racing come to an end, of course.

Meanwhile in Ireland, an investigation by RTE exposed the cruelty of the racing industry in the Emerald Isle, causing uproar among the public and funding streams to be cut. The protest in London was as much a protest as it was a vigil for those dogs who have died in Ireland.

Greyhound racing is clearly a dying industry. For the sake of the thousands of dogs that suffer every year it is vital that we all work together to raise awareness and end this cruel sport sooner rather than later.

  • Figures from the GBGB put greyhound deaths at 1,018 in 2017 and 932 in 2018

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