To the delight of many animal rights activists, the Henlow Stadium in Bedfordshire, England, one of the oldest greyhounds’ racetracks in the UK, held its final race on 21st January 2024 before shutting down for good. Local animal rights groups had protested at the site for years and confirmed the closure.
The 1,000-capacity track opened in 1927. It has seen several owners but in 2008 it was taken over by Kevin Boothby. However, in December 2023, a court ruled against the owners renewing their lease of the site. The stadium must be dismantled by April 5, and plans have already been approved to build 75 new homes in the space. It is believed that all trainers will be allowed to transfer over to the tracks in Northamptonshire, Oxford, or Suffolk.
This is just the latest closure of greyhound tracks in the UK as the cruel “sport” collapses in the country due to a lack of popularity and concerns about animal welfare. In 1984, the leading greyhound racing stadium in Britain, the White City Stadium, closed down, and it was replaced by the Walthamstow Stadium in the London Borough of Waltham Forest in east London, which also closed in 2008. Then, the Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium closed in 2017 before the site was demolished, and the Hall Green Stadium in Birmingham was also shut the same year. Peterborough Greyhound Stadium closed its doors for the final time in 2020 after 75 years. The Shawfield Stadium based in Rutherglen near Glasgow, and Perry Barr’s 94-year-old stadium in Birmingham could also close soon.
The campaign against greyhound racing in the UK has been very strong. In 2022, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rejected a complaint made by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) about a billboard produced by the anti-greyhound racing organisation Caged Nationwide which highlighted dog deaths in the cruel “sport”.