Greyhound welfare report on right track but does not go far enough
Reacting to the EFRA Committee’s report on greyhound welfare, League Against Cruel Sports CEO Eduardo Gonçalves said: “This report is on the right track but we urge the Government to take these recommendations only as a starting point. Defra needs to build on this and go even further to ensure greyhounds are protected.
“There are huge concerns about greyhound welfare that need to be addressed. Many of the dogs suffer a hard and lonely life, forced to train on treadmills and kept apart from other dogs. According to the industry’s own figures, over 2000 dogs were injured in the last three recorded years, and over 1000 were euthanised. Is anyone watching closely enough to ensure that these figures are accurate, and that the dogs are being treated respectfully? Do the report’s recommendations go far enough to solve these problems? We think there’s some way to go.
“It is shocking that the industry has been able to hide injury and euthanasia information for so long. So the Committee's call for transparency on injury, mortality and rehoming data is welcomed, though the Government will need to ensure this extends to track level. Similarly we welcome a statutory levy on bookmakers to ensure more money goes to greyhound welfare, and it is right that the Committee calls for greyhound protection to be extended from tracks to trainers’ kennels.
“It’s good that the need for independent regulation is considered, but why a 2-year probationary period for the industry as greyhounds continue to suffer? We remain convinced that given the industry's abysmal track record, only independent regulation will ensure greyhound welfare is protected.
“And while lip service has been paid to our call for statutory rehoming, this problem is huge and needs addressing urgently. This isn't an issue just for the tracks - all those involved in the industry from trainers to owners should have a duty to ensure no greyhound is killed off at the end of their racing career. In addition, licensing for breeders is vital if we are to reduce the number of surplus, unwanted dogs.
“Finally, microchipping isn’t a magic bullet as we know that cheating the system is prevalent. We urge the Government to introduce greyhound passports to ensure these dogs can be tracked from cradle to grave.
“We commend the Committee for their attention given to this important issue, and their recognition that there are many problems that need to be addressed. We call upon the Government to be bold in ensuring the changes that are needed to protect greyhounds are introduced.”