Three UK animal welfare charities have united forces to call for a nationwide ban on greyhound racing within the next five years. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the Dogs Trust, and the Blue Cross have stated that greyhound racing is “inherently dangerous” for the dogs involved and it should be abolished to prevent hundreds of animal deaths every year. The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) recorded more than 2,000 deaths of dogs between 2018 and 2021, and almost 18,000 injuries.
Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust, said, “We have come to the conclusion the sport is inherently dangerous and should be banned. We are concerned about the quality of life of greyhounds before and after their racing career, the way they are managed in kennels, their lack of essential enrichment and the general care the dogs receive. The shape of the tracks is also of concern. There are collisions on bends. Our stance has won the support of our members and the general public. It is just not acceptable that 2,000 dogs are put to sleep for entertainment.”
This cruel sport has been in decline over the last few years. Today there are only 21 GBGB-licensed tracks in the UK, with the ones in Harlow, Oxford, Nottingham, and Doncaster being the most prominent. All attempts to reform the industry have failed, and therefore many animal welfare organisations that used to have a reformist position regarding greyhound racing have now moved to an abolitionist position. Chris Sherwood, RSPCA chief executive, said they were “not satisfied enough progress has been made… The only way we can secure good lives for these dogs is to call for the sport to be phased out and see greyhound racing consigned to the past.”