A bad week for greyhounds

Last spring, the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) published a public consultation document on their Draft Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations.

The League was delighted to see the government taking the issue of racing greyhound welfare seriously, and we felt that proposed new regulations were a logical next step after administrative changes and the creation of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain to have a statutory role overseeing the multi-million pound greyhound racing industry.

Animal welfare charities including the League, Dog’s Trust and the RSPCA were pleased to see a full and open consultation process, and we took a semi-collaborative approach to responding. In the end well over a thousand animal welfare charities responded to the consultation.

The bitter pill in all this is that the government may just as well left those animal welfare responses in the envelope in which they arrived. Government failed to act on any of the recommedations made by animal welfare organisations. We had wasted our time and it was a punch in the guts.

Towards Christmas, the consultation over, the government published the regulations which required the approval of Parliament. They were presented to Parliament and then withdrawn, and then presented again. The House of Commons and the House of Lords both considered the regulations this week, and passed them without amendment.

Despite this all being depressing stuff, we were encouraged to see questions raised in the Lords about the problems we had flagged up. One of the key issues for us is that whilst greyhound tracks are required to keep records in relation to the dogs that race at that track, together with information on injuries and other incidents, there is no requirement to disclose those records to any external third party, thus rendering the whole record keeping process rather pointless.

Despite all this, we will continue in our campaign on greyhound racing, applying pressure to politicians and government to force this industry to pull its socks up and give a lot more consideration to the dogs that line their pockets.

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