Animal welfare campaigners protest outside Greyhound Derby

Animal welfare campaigners held a protest outside the Towcester racecourse today ahead of the greyhound industry’s most high-profile event, the Greyhound Derby.

The protest, organised by the local group Shut Down Towcester Racecourse and supported by the national charity League Against Cruel Sports, called for greyhound racing to be banned due to the high number of deaths and injuries greyhounds suffer every year.

According to the greyhound industry’s own figures, at least 200 greyhounds tragically died trackside at stadiums across Britain last year and 3,575 were injured despite a racing schedule reduced by a third due to the Covid-19 pandemic1 2. This is set against a figure of 14,000 racing greyhounds kept in kennels at any one time, so a high proportion of participants3.

The figures, recently released by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), reveal the inherently dangerous and cruel nature of greyhound racing, which returned to Towcester racecourse last year after a nearly two-year absence.

Nick Weston, head of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “Greyhound racing puts the profits of the gambling industry before the lives of the greyhounds, many of whom sadly die at trackside or suffer terrible injuries, which will appall animal lovers across Northamptonshire.

“Greyhound racing needs to be phased out in the interests of animal welfare, with racing dogs found new homes where they can live their lives without the cruelty associated with the industry.”

A report by Professor Andrew Knight from the University of Winchester established that curved tracks are inherently hazardous because of the uneven forces greyhounds face as they negotiate bends4.

More than 100,000 people signed a petition to end the unnecessary deaths and suffering of racing dogs and ban greyhound racing. A debate on the greyhound industry is now set to take place in parliament5.

A spokesperson for Shut Down Towcester Racecourse, said: “Since the reopening of Towcester Racecourse, we have had lots of support from local residents who do not want the cruel ‘sport’ of greyhound racing on their doorstep.

“Dog racing is something that belongs in the dark ages. The greyhounds are kept locked up for long periods in cramped kennels when not racing. We want to let the public know how cruel the reality is.”

Ends

Notes to editors

Please find attached three photos of the protesters outside Towcester Racecourse today.

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3 

1. GBGB figures on 2020 greyhound deaths and injuries.
2. Effect of pandemic on the number of greyhound races
3. Government figures in 2015/16 showed there are around 14,000 racing greyhounds
4. Report on greyhound injuries with a section on the dangerous nature of the tracks they race on
5. Petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/554073

For more information or to request an interview please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email pressoffice@league.org.uk.

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).

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