The hidden horror of greyhound racing
As the owner of two ex-racing greyhounds, and someone who campaigns to ban greyhound racing for a living, I thought I was prepared for my visit to Hillside Kennels.
I wasn’t. I don’t think anything can prepare you for that place.
Hillside Kennels was until very recently, an accredited greyhound racing kennel. But when the trainer moved out, and Celia Cross Greyhound Trust invited me to take a look, I couldn’t quite believe what I was experiencing.
First of all: the smell. I was asked by a journalist to describe the smell, but words escaped me. There is not one single smell to pick up, all I can tell you is that it was horrendous. It was a wall of scent, each building I entered the smell was worse than the last, hitting me like a wave. It was all I could do to keep my lunch down. And to think that my sense of smell is only one tenth of that on a dog.
But it wasn’t just the odour. Visiting Hillside was an assault on all the senses. To look at the place was comparable to locations in a horror movie. Think somewhere between Saw and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and you are at least in the right ball park. The concrete cinder blocks that the building was built from were worn away. Not from the outside, but the inside, as dogs had clawed and scratched away at the walls from boredom and stress, leaving the blocks with concave surfaces. There were long scratches in the walls three or four feet long and half an inch deep as greyhounds had been begging for attention.
The wire mesh windows had been pulled inwards, broken and leaving sharp and dangerous metal wire pointing at both the corridors and into the kennels themselves. In some places the floor was soaked through with urine, and even faeces had been left behind.
If people had been kept in this building, Amnesty International would have got them out. So why were these the living standards for nearly 70 greyhounds, in a kennel that was registered and approved by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB)? Why is it that since these kennels have been exposed, the GBGB have made no effort to pay a visit, condemn the state of the site or called the trainer in for questioning?
Perhaps the answer is simple. They don’t care. Racing dogs are nothing more than commodities, and as long as they can run, who cares right?
Wrong! Celia Cross Greyhound Trust care, that’s why they have bought the kennels and undertaken the costly task of turning them into a rehoming centre. The League Against Cruel Sports cares, that’s why we work with groups across the country, tirelessly working to bring greyhound racing to an end.
The industry has proved that it only cares about one thing: money. But if you care about something more important, the thousands of lives put at risk by greyhound racing, then there is only one conclusion to be drawn: it’s time to phase out greyhound racing once and for all.
If you would like to help Celia Cross create a greyhound heaven from this greyhound hell, please donate to their appeal.
Please sign the petition to End Greyhound Racing.