The highly anticipated Commons Select Committee report on Greyhound Welfare has been published following a five-month inquiry.
The report, produced by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committe (EFRA), says bookmakers must contribute more and should not “prioritise profit over high welfare standards”.
Neil Parish MP, committee chair, said: “All racing greyhounds should enjoy high welfare standards both during their racing career and retirement. Bookmakers who profit from greyhound racing should contribute to welfare standards regardless of whether the profits are from high-street stores, online or overseas betting.
“The welfare of racing greyhounds shouldn’t be at the whim of bookmakers who can simply choose to contribute or not. The Government should consider introducing a statutory levy or an alternative betting rights model to protect animal welfare.”
EFRA also recommended changes to the 2010 Regulations so that welfare data related to injury, euthanasia and rehoming numbers is recorded and published.
The report finds that the lack of publicly available data on injuries sustained by racing dogs makes it difficult to judge the current level of welfare provision. Legislation introduced in 2010 requires the industry to keep data relating to injury but it is not required to publish it.
So far all records have been closely guarded in spite of clear demand among charities, trainers and veterinarians for greater transparency within the industry. MPs highlight that the lack of transparency sustains the suspicions of critics.
Simon Hart MP said: “Defra should amend the 2010 regulations to make the publication of welfare data mandatory in order to help the industry challenge external criticism, and show that all efforts are being made to avoid preventable deaths.”
One major concern is the number of healthy dogs potentially being destroyed due to oversupply. This was brought into sharp focus in 2006 when The Sunday Times revealed that healthy greyhounds were being systematically killed and dumped in “canine killing fields”.
During this latest inquiry, MPs found that there is still a significant lack of information concerning the fate of greyhounds surplus to racing requirements. The committee calls for greater transparency about the destiny of racing dogs and that rehoming data is made available.
“We simply do not know what is happening to all greyhounds after they finish racing,” stated Jim Fitzpatrick MP. “If the destruction of healthy dogs is happening on a large scale it is clear that the industry should bear a greater financial responsibility for funding rehomed greyhounds.
“We want to see that all efforts are being made to rehome these animals at the end of their racing lives.”
The committee says that the 2010 Regulations should extend beyond the race track to include trainers’ kennels, which could be independently scrutinised by a suitably authorised body.
The regulations introduced in 2010 have brought the same minimum standards to all racing tracks, but 95% of a dog’s racing life will be spent in private kennels. At the time, it was clear to animal welfare organisations, including Greyhound Compassion, that the Regulations would be ineffectual.
As part of the government’s five-year review, Greyhound Compassion believes EFRA’s report is a significant milestone on the road to improving greyhound welfare in the UK.
The report states that within the five years since the introduction of the 2010 Regulations, there is little evidence of the industry going further than necessary to drive up welfare standards.
Greyhound Compassion welcomes the commitee’s proposals which push for the need for greater transparency, improved welfare and an extension of responsibility to trainers’ kennels. It acknowledges the problem of over-supply of greyhounds. The surplus of greyhounds is not confined to after racing, we know that something also has to be done to protect the “saplings” which don’t make the racing grade.
The report also rightly raises concerns about the financing of higher welfare standards and makes clear the responsibilities of the bookmaking industry, whether they operate on the high street or online.
It remains to be seen whether or not the industry as a whole will implement the committee’s proposals during the recommended two-year probationary period of self-regulation. If self-regulation is to work, all sections of the industry, including bookmakers, must now take responsibility for, and play a shared role in, driving up the welfare of all greyhounds.
We look forward to the next steps.
In May, five Greyhound Compassion volunteers headed to Spain to help out at the Scooby shelter in Medina del Campo. They joined the small Scooby team along with fellow volunteers from Holland and the USA. Here, Lucinda shares a bit of what they go up to, showing why your support is so vital…
We were overwhelmed by the scale of the rescue and numerous galgos and galgo mix puppies in the shelter. One poor puppy, Lulu, had been rescued from the streets and survived against all odds, while her siblings had unfortunately passed away.
We were shocked to come across two galgos who had been stolen from their galguero owners, had their respective microchips gouged from their necks and, once past their usefulness for hare coursing, were subsequently abandoned and thankfully rescued by the Scooby team.
There was the gentle female galgo who was underweight and would only accept her food by hand, yet knew exactly her own mind and had her carers under control! She is gaining weight and making good progress.
There is no shortage of demand for the ambulance Greyhound Compassion was able to donate a month or so ago thanks to the generosity of our supporters. We were really pleased to see the vehicle parked up at the shelter. One of our jobs was to clean it from top to bottom and inside out.
Our usual kennel cleaning jobs also extended to a spring clean and redecoration of the corridor in the main shelter building and quarantine. Thanks to a generous donation, we were able to buy enough blue paint to cover 14 doors and the big double door into the quarantine kennels.
What a coincidence to learn that this month’s copy of Homes & Gardens revealed that blue is very much in vogue. We always knew Scooby was a trendsetter in more ways than one!
The team photo below shows the volunteers with the two Spanish vets taking care of a black female galgo rescued the day before from the pound. We now need to stock the ambulance with suture material which costs around €18 per pack.There are hundreds of galgos to neuter each year also.
Our next steps are to try to raise funds towards these high costs for Scooby. Will you help?Help Scooby
Please don’t forget to mark your calendar with the Greyhound Compassion fun dog show which will take place at the Whitwell Village Fun Day on 20 June 2015.
The venue is the Whitwell Recreation Ground (off of Horn Hill [B651]), Whitwell, Hertfordshire. All breeds are welcome.
We are honoured to have Marc Abraham BVM&S MRCVS, the TV vet, to judge the fun dog show. Marc is the founder of Pup Aid.
His TV appearances include BBC Breakfast, ITV This Morning, Daybreak, Alan Titchmarsh Show, Paul O’Grady Show, It’s Me or the Dog, My Pet Shame, Animal Rescue Live and The Wright Stuff on Channel 5.
The dog show opens at 1pm.
Entry to each class costs £1. The classes are:
1. Fancy dress (Best “Shaun the Sheep”)
2. Best 6 legs
3. Most obedient (dog must sit, stay, give paw and walk to heel [nearly at least!])
4. Dog most like its owner
5. Best brace
6. Best OAP ( dogs older than 9 years)
7. Waggiest tail
8. Best rescue
9. Judge’s favourite
Rosettes to third place.
Fingers crossed for sunshine, look forward to seeing you there!
The sun shone on the sponsored Warwickshire walkers on 26 April, raising smiles and funds for Greyhound Compassion.
The sponsored walk was a huge success and money is still being collected. What better way to support Greyhound Compassion than combining rambling with dog walking on a sunny afternoon?
We would like to thank Judy, Stuart, Huw and the other walkers for organising and joining the event.
If you’d like to find out more about our forthcoming events, visit our events page.
It seems not a month goes past without a story of horrendous greyhound abuse hitting the headlines.
In early April, Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that police were investigating allegations of mass greyhound graves in New South Wales. It was claimed that there were at least a dozen such sites.
It followed the discovery of 55 greyhound carcasses near the Queensland city of Bandaberg. The industry has come under scrutiny since an Australian programme was broadcast which showed evidence of live baiting. The practice has been banned and criminalised for decades, but trainers and owners across the country have been using the illegal training method in the belief that it will improve a dog’s performance. If those alleged to be responsible are found guilty they will face heavy fines and up to five years in prison.
The picture for greyhounds isn’t any better in China. Last week, South China Morning Post reported that an animal rights activist exposed the racing industry’s adoption programme at The Canidrome track in Macau as a “sham”, claiming more than 30 greyhounds per month were being killed because they were deemed unprofitable.
Where are all the injured greyhounds? This is the question many of us are asking. Greyt Exploitations has set up an online petition to ask DEFRA to make it compulsory for the Greyhound Board of Great Britain to publish detailed monthly injury statistics.
At the time of writing, the petition had received 3,724 signatures, but needs another 1,276 to reach the 5,000 target.
Research undertaken by Greyt Exploitations found that at least 40,000 greyhounds have been injured in the past ten years on British tracks. For more than 18,000 greyhounds – many less than two years old – it was to be their last race.
Thanks to the generous support of members, Greyhound Compassion has reached an important goal – the purchase of an ambulance for the Scooby shelter in Spain.
This vehicle costs €5,500 and Greyhound Compassion has raised just enough to cover the full amount. The Scooby vet is delighted because it is in good condition and the charity will start to use it immediately.
This is fantastic news knowing that so many galgos are straying and this often results in an influx of pregnant bitches or nursing mothers, and many galgo mixes. As well as being important emergency transport, the ambulance as an operating theatre.
It’s launch day! Whether you’re looking for ways to fundraise, finding out about greyhounds and galgos, or needing some advice – you’ll discover it here.
We’ve relaunched our website to make it more user-friendly and showcase the incredible work done by our trustees, members, supporters and volunteers.
The site – developed by Emma Maynard Communications – has been designed as a place where members can share with others and catch up on the latest news and events.
A galgo dumped in a bin, another hit by a car. Lucinda shares her recent experience of volunteering at the Scooby animal rescue centre in central Spain…
I arrived thinking I’d help with cleaning, feeding and administering medication. Now that the coursing season has ended, I imagined there would be a few galgos coming in every day. But I was wrong. Galgos were being saved by the hour, every day!
Within the first two hours of my arrival, Cobie, the shelter’s founder, brought in a black galgo with poor mobility in her hips. Cobie saved the galgo from euthanasia in the pound.
On her way home, Cobie found a blue galgo who’d been hit by a car. The vet tried to repair his leg but the veins were so damaged that, at the time of writing, amputation looked inevitable. (more…)
Our sponsored greyhound Freya sends a message of thanks for 2015…
Well, another year has passed and I have seen my pals come in to the kennels and go to their new homes. I am pleased for them, although I know I will never leave here, I love to see my friends get good homes and be happy and settled…