As you may know we are currently running an appeal to replace the donated wooden outdoor shelters for the galgos at Protectora y Santuario Scooby. This is a much needed project and Protectora y Santuario Scooby has €11,000 in the fund (the target is €25k). However it has been overtaken by a much greater need – a puppy isolation unit. We have decided to redirect Greyhound Compassion funds to support this priority.
Over the last couple of months the problem has been particularly acute. Fourteen came in over 2 days in June and most were fighting Parvo. Giving all of the puppies veterinary treatment and protecting them from disease is an immense uphill struggle. Scooby has a puppy isolation unit but it is only big enough for one lactating mother and her litter. It could do with upgrading.
We have decided to support Scooby’s current emergency measures to build a better isolation unit which will cater for the volumes of puppies rescued by the shelter. We have decided to divert the money from the funds for the replacement outdoor shelters for this urgent need.
Some Spanish volunteers have been doing a great patch up job on the existing shelters or building new wooden ones as a stop-gap until there is enough money for the outdoor shelters. We think it’s best to re-direct the funds to the urgent puppy need now and for Scooby to use the temporary shelters in the meantime. We will have to re-launch our appeal for the shelters at a later date.
If so, send him/her to Protectora y Santuario Scooby….
For some unknown reason Protectora y Santuario Scooby can’t find a builder in Spain for love nor money (and for once we have the money to pay). It seems that they are all in full employment and cannot start Scooby’s projects until after Christmas (yes! After Christmas!).
Scooby has several building works to complete: the puppy isolation unit (12sqm and subdivided into 4 sections); the replacement of fences with brick walls around the dog enclosures; and other maintenance work. Scooby has enough building work to fill the next 8 – 12 weeks. Scooby can pay a fee and offer basic onsite accommodation.
If you know a builder who would like a few weeks’ work in the sun in Medina del Campo, Spain, for a very fulfilling purpose – please email the team. Thank you.
Greyhound racing in Ireland turned from a national tradition to a national disgrace in 60 minutes last week.
The RTE Investigates tv programme (caution: graphic images) revealed the dark side of greyhound racing in Ireland when it presented a report the Irish Greyhound Board had commissioned and kept secret since 2017 because it was considered commercially sensitive. The programme showed that 6,000 greyhounds are culled per annum. The reasons for the cull were broken down into: “those who failed to produce qualifying times” (2,673); “failure to produce desired entry level times” (1,989) and an “unacceptable decline in performance” (1,326).
Irish Greyhound Board is a semi-state body and receives an annual government subsidy to the tune of €16.8m. An Irish Examiner article sets the issue out in very clear terms: In Ireland “sick children don’t benefit from ring-fenced taxation. Neither do people with mental health challenges, nor elderly people, nor homeless people. Nobody does, in fact, except horses and greyhounds”.
The report behind the RTE programme revealed how greyhounds are sold to the UK at 50% of the cost of producing the greyhound puppies. This means the Irish taxpayer is subsidising the ‘product’ being sold to the UK at a loss. Thereby making the ‘cheap product’ affordable to the UK customers. Surely when the prices go up to remedy the Irish losses, the UK clients will feel the pinch.
The atrocities shown in the RTE programme brought Irish people out onto the streets to demonstrate outside local tracks. It catalysed a torrent of letters, tweets and emails complaining to Irish Government officials. The heart rending footage led to discussions in the Irish Parliament, a petition calling for government subsidies to be discontinued and moved Barry’s Tea, Treacy’s Hotel, FBD Insurance and Connolly’s RED MILLS (a leading manufacturer of animal feed products in Ireland) to withdraw from sponsorship agreements. Others may follow.
Although horrific, this has to be a major step in the demise of greyhound racing.
Join campaigners in demanding an end to the Irish Government’s massive grants to the greyhound industry – €16.8 million for 2019, bringing to around a quarter of a billion euros the amount handed over since 2001. This must be ended. Contact Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe now.
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Tweet to: @LeoVaradkar
Leave a comment on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/LeoVaradkar
Paschal Donohoe TD
Minister for Finance
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Phone: +353 (0)1 6045810
Leave a comment on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/PaschalDonohoe/
Tweet to @Paschald
The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has published the 2018 end of life and injury figures for racing greyhounds. This is the second year for which data has been put in the public domain. Over the last two years 2,032 greyhounds have died in the hands of the industry (499 on the racetrack). Many greyhounds were killed for ‘economic reasons’, in 2018 175 were destroyed because of high treatment costs, and 144 were labelled as having ‘no viable option’ away from the racecourse.
The 2018 figures show how and why the greyhound died or was put down:
242 euthanised trackside on ‘humane grounds’
324 for whom treatment was deemed too expensive, there was ‘no viable option’ away from the racecourse or no home was found.
190 were killed due to being ‘unsuitable for homing’
72 died from ‘sudden death’
There were 4,963 injuries (out of 426,139 dog runs) in 2018 (4,837 injuries out of 419,385 dog runs in 2017. The graphs below display the Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s 2017 and 2018 data. Over the two years some of the category labels have changed: In the 2018 dataset the GBGB introduced numbers for dogs going to independent racing (“flapping”) and re-grouped some of the end of life headings, introducing “No Viable Option Away from Racecourse”.
The injuries and deaths suffered by greyhounds, who are companion animals and sentient beings, are egregious and have no place in our society. The published data fails to present the total number of greyhounds racing (widely estimated to be 14,000 at any one time) does not include the “saplings” who fail to make the grade, and omits the GBGB acknowledged “dog clog” considered to stand at 5,000 greyhounds.
We lost poor Magic to cancer in May. He was a prominent greyhound ambassador for rescued greyhounds and galgos and we were overwhelmed by the messages we received when he became ill.
Since losing him we’ve been asked what Greyhound Compassion can do to mark this very special hound. With the help of a Greyhound Compassion friend we have launched a “JustGiving” page in Magic’s honour.
Here you can donate directly to Greyhound Compassion or post your own fund-raising initiatives in aid of Greyhound Compassion. People have already suggested sponsored walks and fun runs. We are grateful for these ideas and hope that Magic’s memory will continue to help other greyhounds and galgos not yet in loving homes.
With much grief and sadness, we have to announce to all our friends and supporters of Greyhound Compassion, with the tragic news that we have lost our special boy Magic.
Although it is so painful to talk or even write about Magic at this time, we realise that he had such a lot of special friends within you all.
Some of you learned through social media about Magic’s illness and you have really touched our hearts with such kind words and thoughts. It has been overwhelming to us. Everything has happened so quickly and from being given a diagnosis 3 weeks ago, Magic lost his fight against bone cancer and we were left with shock and total devastation at losing such a massive part of our family. He has left his 2 girls Petal and Tess. We know to Tess he was her big brother and as for Petal, he was her confidence and her gentleman to lean on whenever she needed him. Both girls are very quiet and subdued as they also feel a great sense of loss.
Because Magic so willingly became a fundraiser and an ambassador for Greyhounds and Galgos less fortunate than himself we are hoping later to look at a fitting tribute to him to honour his life and his work and to carry on a legacy he has left behind.
Again our thanks go out to you all. Your kindness has meant so much, not only to our dear Magic’s memory but to ourselves. You have given us some comfort as we have said goodnight to our very special boy Magic.
Angela writes warmly about welcoming an ex-racer into her home.
To say that Arthur is the most longed-for dog is the understatement of the century. Since my childhood family dog died in 1998 my heart has literally ached for a dog. Where most women my age get broody for babies, all I ever wanted was a dog. For a long time, the timing wasn’t right. Working full-time and having my own health and mobility issues meant I wasn’t in a position to give a dog everything it needed, and I always promised myself I would never get a dog just to fulfil my needs if I couldn’t meet the dog’s needs.
By the end of 2016, however, the planets were aligning, I was working part-time and mostly from home and my mum was retired and working as a dog walker so could help me as needed – the time was now right for me to get my much longed-for canine companion, the only decision now was what dog to get. Buying was never an option, it would always be a rescue whatever the breed. Greyhounds had been mentioned to me a number of times over the years and having friends who run a greyhound rescue meant I’d seen lots of their posts on Facebook about them. So, after a little more reading about these beautiful 45mph couch potatoes I decided a greyhound was definitely the dog for me and contacted Karen & Dawn.
Karen & Dawn were certain as soon as I contacted them that they could find the perfect dog for me and after one or two considerations they decided that Cushie (as he was then known) was the right boy for me. The home visit was done and preparations for his arrival began. Since my dog was going to be the best dog in the world (as everyone’s dog is to them) I decided he needed a new name, a regal name and so I re-christened him Arthur. On 22nd April 2017 Arthur walked through my front door and firmly into my heart.
The first few weeks were certainly a lesson for both of us. Arthur came to me straight from the racing track and so had literally never set paw in a house before, he had no clue how to behave in a home. Lesson number one for me came about an hour after his arrival when I decided a cup of coffee would be nice only to end up wearing it after being pounced upon carrying it through from the kitchen. Meals for the first week or so, for me, were eaten from the corner of the worktop with my back turned to an eager pooch who thought any food was his food. Arthur, having most likely been group fed up to now practically inhaled his meals, I did find myself questioning once or twice if there had definitely been food in the bowl I’d just put down for him as it disappeared before I had chance to see it.
The first few nights were also very sleepless for both of us. Right up to Arthur’s arrival I had not decided whether he would have a bed and sleep in my bedroom or whether he would sleep in the crate I had set up for him in my spare room (open of course). I went to bed that first night leaving Arthur in the hallway with access to his bed/crate in the spare room, but the second I closed the door the barking started. Each time I went out to him he was more frantic, panting heavily and obviously quite distressed being left alone in this new and unfamiliar place. I decided within less than an hour that I couldn’t possibly leave him in that state and so from the first night and every night since he has slept in my room.
The first sign that Arthur was starting to properly settle was on the 6th night when he came into the bedroom and promptly went to sleep. This was to be Arthur’s best night sleep since he arrived and absolutely my worst. Until now, where ever I went, Arthur followed. If I got up in the night, Arthur followed. If I went to the loo, Arthur waited right outside barking until I reappeared. On this 6th night, that didn’t happen. I got up, Arthur stayed put – eyes closed sleeping soundly. I called his name from the kitchen, he didn’t come. I went and sat next to him, first gently stroking, then more vigorous shaking, Arthur barely opened an eye. The poor boy was exhausted and clearly finally felt at home and ready to have a proper sleep, but in the early hours of the morning, in my very active imagination, I decided he must be seriously ill… dying… Oh my god, I couldn’t even keep this poor dog alive for a week, six days with me and he was dying.
By 4 am I had worked myself in to such a frenzy of panic I decided I had to call someone – my mum. I begged her to come over, explaining Arthur was seriously ill and must be taken to the vet immediately, she wasn’t driving at the time due to a recent surgery so called a taxi and came rushing over. The minute she walked through the door, Arthur, having now had several hours of lovely restful sleep, woke up and went bouncing to the door to meet her. I promptly burst in tears out of sheer relief. That was the moment I knew it. This beautiful boy had well and truly captured every single ounce of my heart. A quick check up at the vet that following afternoon confirmed all was definitely well and Arthur and I settled in to life together. Over the next few months Arthur blossomed. We worked on his manners around the house and he was soon behaving (for the most part) like a gentleman.
Having Arthur has opened up a whole new world for me. I have met and come to know more of my neighbours in the time I have had him than in the 7 years I lived here before he arrived. Having health and mobility problems myself it was always easier to just spend weekends indoors but since Arthur’s arrival I have spent so much more time outdoors, looking for parks and other nice locations to take Arthur, these have to be wheelchair / scooter accessible for me, but we have found so many lovely places to take him. Arthur’s favourite thing in the world is a car ride, the second he realises he is going in the car his excitement is uncontainable, so distance is no object. My main criterion now for looking for somewhere nice to eat out is not what the food is like, but do they allow dogs. Arthur loves nothing more than a ride out in the car, a nice walk in a lovely park followed by a nice pub lunch, where he is always impeccably behaved and always the centre of much attention and admiration.
Arthur is such a beautiful, happy and sweet natured soul. I have read that greyhounds can be standoffish with strangers. Arthur clearly doesn’t know this, he is the friendliest dog I have ever met. Wherever we go he wants to say hello to everyone and they instantly adore him. He also has such a playful and goofy personality, he loves his toys, he has a toy box overflowing with them and when he’s not doing what greyhounds do best (snoozing) he can often be found bouncing round the house with some squeaky toy or another or doing zoomies at 100mph round the garden.
It is difficult to imagine now that Arthur hasn’t been a pet and lived in a house his whole life. He is so settled into his happy little life and routine. He no longer wolfs his food but rather happily saunters over to his dish in his own good time. I can eat with a tray on my knee on the sofa if I want to without even so much as a look from Arthur. Each evening Arthur has a treat at 7 o’clock on the dot (believe me, he reminds me if it’s late), following this, there is a quick visit to the garden for essential business and then Arthur takes himself off to bed. I often pop my head round the door if I’m passing, to be met by one of my favourite sights, a roaching greyhound, fast asleep, all four legs in the air and just a long upside-down bobble nose and grinning teeth poking over the top of the bed, this is a sight that truly melts my heart.
Adopting Arthur was without a doubt the best thing I have ever done. He has completely changed my life and I honestly cannot imagine my world without him. I read an article recently in which the author discussed what she called ‘heart dogs’. She explained it that we will often have many dogs through our lives that we love dearly but most people are only lucky enough only have one ‘heart dog’. This is the dog with which we truly connect, the one that completely and utterly steals our heart, the doggy equivalent of a soul mate. Arthur is most definitely my ‘heart dog’.
Arthur and I had a tough few months at the end of last year, I had a major health scare and had bad news regarding the health of a close family member as well as the threat of redundancy, which thankfully didn’t happen. Arthur also had his own health problems and had to undergo surgery. Thankfully we both came through OK and I am sure this was in no small part due to the love and support we both find in each other. Speaking for myself, I don’t think I could have made it through those months without Arthur. No matter how bad things seem, one look at his face, that long nose and those beautiful big brown eyes and I know that I can make it through whatever life throws at me. I have to for his sake because he needs me too.
We also have a big year ahead of us this year. Arthur needs one more surgery which is coming up in April, hopefully we can then put his health issues behind us. We have also decided that we would like a house with no stairs in the garden and to live nearer my mum (Arthur really loves his grandma and wants to see her more than he already does) and so we have a house move coming up soon too. Despite the stress of moving, I am really looking forward to the move, I know it is going to be better for Arthur and for myself and I am sure he will settle just fine after a day or two, once he knows it’s our new home. Most of all I am just excited for the future and the fact that I get to share it with this beautiful gentle giant of a dog, my gorgeous King Arthur.
The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) published its 2017 injury and retirement/end of life data in March 2018 for the first time since racing was introduced in the UK in 1926. Although given to be complete at the time, the retirement and end of life data transpired by December to be “interim” because of a 6 month lag in “retirement” figures. The GBGB said it would publish updated, final statistics before the end of 2018. They noted that the injury figures (4,837 injuries out of 419,385 “dog runs”) would not change because they are reported in real time at the racetrack.
In the end the GBGB published its final retirement and end of life data in January 2019. The “final” stats showed: 1,100 greyhound deaths within racing in 2017 broken down as per the following tables:
GBGB 2017 “Retirement” Data
Published March 2018
“Final” published Jan 2019
6 Month Lag
|Retained by Owner/Trainer||
|Greyhound Trust / Charity||
|Homed by Owner/Trainer. Put to breeding||
GBGB 2017 End of Life Data
Published March 2018
|“Final” published Jan 2019||
6 Month Lag
|Killed: Treatment Costs/Poor Prognosis||
|Killed: No Home Found||
|Killed: Designated Unsuitable for Homing||
|Put to Sleep: Trackside||
|Put to Sleep: Medical & Other||
|Total End of Life||
Moreover, the CEO of the greyhound regulatory board is quoted as saying that there is a 5,000 “dog clog” languishing in trainers’ kennels whose fate after racing is still unknown. The published GBGB data is not explicit about these greyhounds.
The statistics are heartbreaking, knowing that these poor, gentle greyhounds suffered in the name of gambling and entertainment. This is exploitation and we believe The League Against Cruel Sports is right to repeat its 2016 call for greyhound racing to be “consigned to the ranks of cruel sports which are no longer acceptable”. Please sign and share the petition demanding greyhound racing be phased out in the UK.
Greyhound Compassion volunteers have just returned from an action packed visit to the Protectora y Santuario Scooby in Medina del Campo. The four of us tried to cram as much into the trip as we possibly could.
We did the usual cleaning, hosing, tidying, food preparation and sorting jobs and then tried to complement these with a few extras! So many lovely and friendly galgos were in residence. Scooby is expecting many more galgos to be dumped during the early months of the coursing season (now open) because the hares have a mutated form of myxomatosis. This is bound to increase the numbers of galgos coming into the shelter during the winter as hunts will be aborted, not to mention the suffering of the poor hares.
We persuaded the fund-raising committee to delay a shelter open day by one week so that we could help out. Seemed like a good idea at the time but what we didn’t realise was that the weather would be such a big influence (not quite the “come rain or shine” mentality we are used to in the UK). On the open day the weather was chilly and threatened rain but the dedicated Spanish supporters came along for a tour of the shelter and refreshments.
The Brits introduced the idea of a “lucky dip” for the children and another technical game of skill and nerve for the teenagers. Unfortunately somebody let the recently rescued puppies out for the children just as they approached the “lucky dip” – who could compete with half a dozen appealing puppies?
We raised a few Euros in aid of the shelter but can’t help thinking it would have been better not to have interfered and to have left the organisers to capitalise on the sunny weather one week earlier. Still it was good to showcase the animals and hard work of Scooby. In the same week, the Scooby rescuers had completed the last of several visits to a dog collector to rescue many neglected and ill-treated dogs.
We were really pleased to see that work had started on replacing the dilapidated fencing around the enclosures in the oldest part of the shelter – all 800m around corridors 7 and 8. This will improve immensely the conditions for the galgos in the shelter. It gives the dogs the benefit of natural light and fresh air in their outdoor runs but without a transparent view into each others’ territory, withdrawing the opportunity to antagonise each other, or to dig under the fence to reach the neighbours, or break out and go on a tour of the shelter!
Thank you to all of our donors who helped to make this much needed work possible. We launched in January 2018, appealing for €20,000 for the project and reached the target in September with the work starting in October. Donations came from Greyhound Compassion, Galgos Greys and More (Switzerland & Germany), Scooby’s Slovenian marathon runners in the Medina del Campo half marathon, a Dutch craft circle and their on-line auctions as well as some private donations. Thank you!
Protectora y Santuario Scooby benefits from the many volunteers who visit but we’ve come to realise that the written ground rules do not go far enough in today’s world of instant messaging and interactive communications. With this in mind we helped to make a video at the shelter to remind volunteers to respect Scooby as the home of the animals and to show what value volunteers can add when working at the shelter. The film certainly conveys the message but only after a number of outtakes. We had to contend with puppies tormenting the oldies while they were being cleaned out in the background, galgo needle noses poking into the camera, changing weather, poor scripting and very amateur camera skills on a selfie-stick until a fellow volunteer took over. The final product will certainly serve the purpose and what a laugh we had making it!
Last Tuesday Greyhound Compassion was present at the All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG) in Portcullis House, London. The theme of the meeting was, “Greyhound Racing in the UK – An Update on Welfare.”
The meeting focussed on what’s happened since the post-implementation review of The Welfare of Racing Greyhound Regulations was signed off by DEFRA in 2016.
Stakeholders from across the debate provided in-depth contributions to the EFRA Select Committee & DEFRA consultations in 2015-2016 to make the case for a high standard of welfare for the tens of thousands of greyhounds racing on British racetracks.
A significant milestone was reached in March 2018 when the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) published, for the first time in racing’s 92 year history in the UK, injury & end of life data in response to the DEFRA review. The publication was accompanied by a new 5 year Greyhound Commitment from the GBGB.
We went along to hear what has changed since 2016 from the expert panel comprising: Mark Bird, MD, GBGB; Trudy Baker, Chair Greyt Exploitations; Professor Andrew Knight, Animal Welfare & Ethics, Winchester University; Clarissa Baldwin OBE, Chair – Greyhound Forum; Nick Weston, Head of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports.
The GBGB presented its 5 year plan to: drive down euthanasia on economic grounds; cement the Greyhound Commitment; and professionalise the racing industry through apprenticeships. The GBGB added that it would be conducting research into the implications of temperature extremes for racing dogs, acknowledging that racing had continued at the majority of tracks during the “beast from the East” winter and 2018 summer heatwave.
The GBGB pointed to its funding decline. High street bookies closing has meant 20% shaved off of their bottom line. The GBGB ’s overriding theme was one of ambition against the backdrop of independent rescues picking up the pieces – way too little, way too late.
Clarissa Baldwin OBE covered the nobility of the greyhound and the origins of the breed. She openly touched on the failures of the GBGB in the past and acknowledged its attempts to put its house in order, and to engage more responsively with the Greyhound Forum (comprising: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, Dogs Trust, Greyhounds in Need, Forever Hounds Trust, Greyhound Trust, The Kennel Club, Wood Green Animal Shelters and RSPCA). She acknowledged that the greyhound deaths on economic grounds must be eradicated, “no place for trainers who consistently put greyhounds to sleep on economic grounds”. Clarissa recognised that the standard for trainers’ kennels is a BSI document available at a cost and, therefore, many trainers are reluctant to purchase it, thinking they could do without it.
All pretty tame, nothing new up to this point of the meeting. Step forward Trudy Baker, Andrew Knight and Nick Weston and it was clear that the GBGB had been defending the indefensible.
Trudy, of Greyt Exploitations, revealed how the GBGB has not complied with its formal agreement with DEFRA because it has not fully published the methods by which greyhounds left racing in 2017. Independent racing, racing abroad and other uses (which would include for research and/or dissection) are missing, yet they are categories on the GBGB Retirement Forms.
Greyt Exploitations also questioned why track fatalities declined rapidly between 2014 and 2017 while the rates for hock and wrist injuries have nearly doubled. It could be that in the face of having to publish death rates, the industry has taken steps to treat more injured greyhounds or it could simply mean that less greyhounds are destroyed trackside by a vet and more away from the track and by unknown methods – which is concerning.
Greyt Exploitations’ own data showed 798 more injuries than the GBGB statistics. Greyt Exploitations illustrated the point of “missing” greyhounds with reference to a Greyhound Star article which noted that Ireland exported 11,034 greyhounds in 2017 predominantly to the UK. In the same year there were 1,497 British bred greyhounds making a total of 12,531 dogs, yet in 2017 only 8,094 were registered to race on GBGB tracks. Where are these 4,437 greyhounds?
We heard from Greyt Exploitations that the GBGB has failed to to obtain UKAS accreditation of trainers’ kennels by its agreed deadline of December 2017. Although the PAS came into effect in December 2017, UKAS confirmed as recently as 25 October 2018 there has been no extension to the scope of accreditation to include trainers’ kennels.
As if there was nothing left to question, Professor Knight blew some very crucial arguments out of the water. He very interestingly touched on “bony remodelling” whereby a racing greyhound’s skeleton adapts to propulsive forces and reabsorbs calcium from some areas and deposits it in others, increasing the chances of bone fractures.
Prof. Knight provided the GBGB with some food for thought if racing is going to continue in the UK and have a better welfare standard:
Nick Weston described how the League Against Cruel Sports is calling for a phased out ban given the GBGB’s failed attempts at reform, calling it “untenable and unacceptable that these animals have died for someone else’s enjoyment”.
We are posting the presentations we could obtain for our readers’ interest. Please do read them, this was a fact packed meeting with some very revelatory material.
The quote of the night goes to Prof. Andrew Knight: “there is misuse of the term euthanasia by this industry, I am going to use the correct term – killing.”
And action point of the night goes to the two MPs who chaired the debate admirably (Andrea Jenkyns and Anna Turley) – both agreed to keep greyhound welfare uppermost on the Parliamentary agenda. Quite a watershed moment for the greyhounds – APDAWG was an occasion for wider dissemination of some of the complexities of greyhound racing and many members of the audience welcomed the informative content.