Two hundred greyhounds died on tracks last year, industry figures show

At least 200 greyhounds died trackside at stadiums across Britain last year despite a racing schedule reduced by a third due to the Covid-19 pandemic1.

Figures released by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) reveal the dangerous nature of greyhound racing amidst growing calls for the industry to be closed down.

The sport has been heavily condemned by national animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports.

Nick Weston, head of campaigns at the League, said: “One death is a death too many, but these figures show how often these dogs are dying for sport after being forced to race on inherently unsafe oval tracks2.

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

Figures show 39,697 greyhound races were held in 2020, a drop of 17,042 on 2019, and yet track fatalities only dropped from 207 to 200, indicating that greyhound racing proportionally had become even deadlier.3

The figures also showed 3,375 greyhounds sustained injuries in 2020, which indicates that nearly one in four dogs are being injured every year — or that some dogs are sustaining multiple injuries. An average of nine dogs were injured every day of the year4.

A total of 411 greyhounds were listed as dying, with other excuses including sudden death, being designated as unsuitable for homing, treatment costs, or being put to sleep away from the racecourse on veterinary advice. Racing greyhounds normally retire from racing between the ages of two and three years so are relatively young dogs.

Trudy Baker, coordinator of Greyt Exploitations, said: “Despite numerous Covid financial packages available to tracks, industry employees and self-employed trainers, the Government further awarded the industry £1.1m funding in January this year5 to protect its stakeholders and safeguard the sport’s welfare throughout the winter period. This funding has essentially also helped to perpetuate the suffering of thousands of greyhounds, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

“We would question whether, in this instance, the use of public funds would be supported by UK citizens when more than 100,000 people signed a petition to end the unnecessary deaths & suffering of racing dogs and ban greyhound racing6.”

Following the success of the petition, a debate on the greyhound industry is set to take place in parliament.

Ends

Notes to editors
1 GBGB figures on 2020 greyhound deaths and injuries
2 Report on greyhound injuries with a section on the nature of the tracks they race on
Effect of pandemic on the number of greyhound races
4 Government figures in 2015/16 showed there are around 14,000 racing greyhounds
5 https://insidersport.com/2021/03/19/greyhound-racing-bolstered-by-1-1m-bgrf-support-package
6 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).

Sign up for our newsletter

We'd love to keep in touch. With your permission we'll let you know the very latest news on our fast-moving campaigns, as well as appeals and other actions (such as petitions) so you can continue to help protect animals.

If you would like to know more about your data protection rights, please read our privacy policy.

© 2021 The League Against Cruel Sports. Registered charity in England and Wales (1095234) and Scotland (SC045533).
Registered in England and Wales as a company, no. 04037610.
Registered office: New Sparling House, Holloway Hill, Godalming, GU7 1QZ, United Kingdom.