Charities Call For End To Greyhound Racing After Over 500 Deaths In One Year
Animal charities are calling for a stop to greyhound racing after latest industry figures show over 500 greyhounds died last year.
The figures, released by Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) as part of a push to improve greyhound welfare in the sport, show that 242 dogs suffered racing fatalities in 2018.
While 88 per cent of retiring greyhounds were either rehomed or retained within the sport by owners, trainers and breeders in the figures captured from last year, 12 per cent died of natural causes or were put down following vets advice for welfare or medical reasons.
Data also shows that 324 dogs were put to sleep because "no suitable home could be found for them or because there was no viable alternative" due to reasons such as medical costs.
While this is a drop on last year, GBGB say they consider these "avoidable and unnecessary deaths," which they wish to eradicate from the sport.
Despite these good intentions, and the improved results on the year prior (2017), animal welfare charities are calling for an end to the sport, saying it can't be reformed due to "dangerously configured" oval tracks and the continuing problems rehoming dogs.
Trudy Baker, coordinator of Greyt Exploitations, says that the new commitments don't address the "suffering and deaths of thousands of dogs" who are listed as retired.
"The truth is hundreds of dogs listed as 'retired' by the GBGB still remain in a commercial environment, confined to trainers' kennels that have failed to comply with an agreed British Standard Institute specification, either used for breeding, forced to routinely donate blood or simply awaiting rehoming," she told The Guardian.
"Hundreds more are sold or given away again for breeding, to be raced abroad or on independent tracks, or used for research and dissection," she added.
"No amount of ineffective 'window dressing' welfare commitments will address the suffering and deaths of thousands of dogs racing on dangerously configured tracks."
GBGB's Greyhound Commitment launched in 2018 and sought to improve the welfare of animals at the heart of the betting sport.
Mark Bird, Managing Director of GBGB, said: "We have set ourselves some challenging targets to achieve over the next few years demonstrating our determination to eradicate all avoidable injuries and any unnecessary deaths.
"To achieve this, however, requires not only the commitment of everyone in the sport but also the availability of adequate and sustained funding that allows welfare to flourish. Whilst we have made some good progress this year in terms of securing a contribution from the bookmakers of a small proportion of their online income, this is not secure for the long term."
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