You might recall from our 2016 and 2017 newsletters that Greyhound Compassion has been closely monitoring developments around the review of the Welfare of Racing Greyhound Regulations (2010) during which the EFRA Select Committee and DEFRA committed to holding the greyhound racing industry’s feet to the fire.
One of the key EFRA recommendations in its report of 2016 from its review in 2015 was that welfare data relating to injury, euthanasia and rehoming numbers be recorded and published. The EFRA Select Committee found that the lack of publicly available data made it difficult to judge the level of welfare provision. The Welfare of Racing Greyhound Regulations (2010) required greyhound tracks to record the injury, euthanasia data and stats about greyhounds leaving the industry as part of the local authority licensing regime and the UKAS regime run by the GBGB but the data were never actually collated centrally by the GBGB. In 2016 DEFRA secured the GBGB’s commitment to publish the statistics with a full set of data to be ready by the end of 2017.
Parliamentary questions posed by Jim Fitzpatrick MP in December 2017 reveal that the Government (DEFRA) expects the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) to begin publishing annual aggregate injury and euthanasia statistics for GBGB tracks and annual summary statistics for the number of registered greyhounds leaving the industry. The figures will cover the preceding calendar year and, for greyhounds leaving the industry, the data will include by what method. GBGB is expected to begin publishing both sets of data by the end of March 2018. Access to anonymised track injury and euthanasia data will be considered by the GBGB’s Welfare Standing Committee and DEFRA for bona fide research purposes. We are not clear about what “bona fide research purposes” means and are trying to find out. Nor do we know how DEFRA intends to handle data related to the independent tracks. Likewise, we are enquiring about the plan for these tracks outside of GBGB control.
DEFRA has been clear that if necessary it will regulate the industry because it is important, in George Eustice’s (DEFRA) own words: “to keep the GBGB’s feet to the fire and to make it understand the stakes”.
Chinese New Year takes place on a different date each year because it is based on the lunar calendar. 2018 is the Year of the Dog and it will be celebrated on 16 Feb, giving the GBGB about 6 weeks to finalise its data sets. We are waiting.
Thank you very much for your support for Greyhound Compassion during 2017. With your help, we have managed to make our funds stretch a long way to help a number of greyhounds and galgos. We were pleased to be able to fund CCTV for the rescue kennels in Lincolnshire as well as veterinary and food bills. Thank you also to those who donate bedding, food and soft toys which we deliver with pleasure from time to time. We contributed to Mary’s expenses to save the “Dungarvan 10” greyhounds rescued from squalor along with 140 others. Good to know that prosecutions may follow in that case. Then there was poor, poor Zeuss who suffered 3rd degree burns after having boiling water poured on him by his kennel owner. Thanks to Limerick Animal Welfare’s vet, Zeuss made a good recovery. At Scooby we funded the division of the last-remaining large enclosure and the French support group installed brand new kennels in the newly created plots. This means the galgos can live in smaller groups in secure enclosures. Our Year in Review is shown below so that you can see in more detail how we’ve spent our finances. 96.25p of every £1 we raise goes directly to a galgo or greyhound. Please contact us if you would like our full annual report for 2017.
Thank you to our supporters who fund-raise in aid of Greyhound Compassion by running sales stalls, raffles and tombolas as well as holding sponsored and social events, selling via Ebay and car boots, joining us on flag days and helping at jumble sales. This means we can always keep a small fund in case of emergency and it happened last week! Dawn from Greyhound Rescue in Lincolnshire telephoned to tell us that the boiler for the kennels had broken beyond repair, just what you don’t need at the end of November. Dawn thought it would cost £2k to replace. Greyhound Compassion could immediately offer the money. However, the final best estimate put the cost at £4k. Greyhound Compassion couldn’t afford the full amount but we honoured our £2k commitment. The greyhounds are now toasty in their beds.
In fact, Sheila Shotter is holding one such stall this weekend @GuestwickChristmasMarket. She is kindly selling her handmade Seasonal crafts in aid of Greyhound Compassion. Thank you very much to Sheila.
Elaine, Jane and Jayne sponsored and manned the Greyhound Compassion stall at the SW Animal Aid Christmas without Cruelty Festival. Very grateful to them for spreading the word about the plight of the greyhounds.
Next year Scooby has asked Greyhound Compassion to help raise money for the salary for the on-site vet. This is a position beset with challenge. It is a demanding job and relentless. It has been difficult to find suitably qualified vets to give the shelter the medical support it deserves. We are hoping to step up our grant funding applications in aid of this particular need. On top of this the fencing at the shelter is in need of repair. This is about 1km of fencing which needs renewing. Look out for the “buy 1m” of fencing campaign!
Next year is an important year for racing greyhounds. 2018 is the year the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) is to begin publishing annual figures for the number of greyhounds injured and euthanised at GBGB tracks and the number of dogs that leave GBGB racing, including an explanation of what “leave” means.
Greyhound Compassion was pleased to be invited to a meeting with Greyt Exploitations and the League Against Cruel Sports in November 2017. It was The League that rightfully came to the view in 2016 that after several attempts to reform itself, the industry should be actively phased out leading to a complete ban on greyhound racing across the UK. Our meeting with Greyt Exploitations and The League in November was positive and we hope we can collaborate for the benefit of the greyhounds.
Greyhound Compassion’s Autumn digital newsletter launched this week (our first ever!). Please let us know if you have not received it or if you would like to sign up to receive it. Once you have read it, please let us know your thoughts. All feedback gratefully received. firstname.lastname@example.org
We visited Greyhound Rescue in Lincolnshire last weekend. We were there to help with an event they had to promote the shelter in a nearby town on Saturday. They have about 30 greyhounds in residence at the moment. Kimmy was retired at the age of 2 and is now in kennels waiting for her new, loving home. I fell in love with Bullseye who is so lovable and affectionate, looking for his home. Sadly we don’t have any space in our own greyhound family. He is so soft and loving, it’s easy to imagine him on a sofa but really hard to contemplate how he coped with the hard knocks and rigid, metallic discomfort (traps, vans, tracks, kennels etc.) of racing. These poor dogs just don’t seem to be built for exploitation like racing. If you are able to offer Bullseye a home, please contact us or Greyhound Rescue. We were lucky enough to see Treacle skip off to her new home being carried away in comfort to the family in the outskirts of Manchester, which was a pleasure.
As for Protectora y Santuario Scooby, up to the end of August 309 puppies have come into rescue from the streets. That’s 300 extra dogs Scooby has saved, rehabilitated, fed and the vet has seen. In fact as at the end of August, this was 49% of all of the dogs Scooby had rescued. This is a big challenge when Scooby has to work so hard to find homes all of the other adult dogs. Scooby campaigns for neutering and identification of dogs. In fact, Repsol, the national petrol station chain, recently held a public awareness event asking the public not to abandon dogs at Repsol petrol stations. Repsol invited Scooby and some of the rescues to the event in Madrid. We’re hoping there is potential for future collaboration.
The other big challenge for Scooby this year has been the need for a new vet. Incredibly all of the unemployed and well-qualified vets from the Province came to England to work in practice before Brexit takes place so that they can boost their experience and earnings while they can still move freely in Europe. This meant Scooby had to look much further afield for a vet and it took a long, long time. We have a vet on-site now but until this point Scooby has had to use vets in the local town. We’re hoping this is more stable now but we’ll have to wait and see how the new vet gets on. It’s a big job and the work is relentless.
Looking to the latter part of the year, we’ll have the next APDAWG (the All-Party Dog Welfare Group) meeting. There has been a real lull in Parliamentary activities for dog welfare since the General Election and given the time the Brexit negotiations have consumed. It will be interesting to see what is on their agenda and how we can encourage them to turn their attention to the greyhound welfare issues. This is not going to be easy given that DEFRA has concluded that the Greyhound Racing Welfare Regulations fulfil their purpose within the eyes of the legislation.
LAW recently rescued a greyhound from the most barbaric cruelty. He had suffered third degree burns from boiling water. (This is the least worst picture because the injury is so gruesome). The kennel owner said he threw boiling water in the kennels to kill snails and the burns were an accident.
The kennel owner did not act immediately and did not provide any emergency treatment. The wound became infected but Limerick Animal Welfare’s vet quickly administered pain relief and intensive medical care. Soon, he was comfortable in a fresh bed. It’s going to take more than a month of bandaging and treatment to get him well, but he is getting great care from LAW’s vet who loves the hounds.
Fortunately, Greyhound Compassion had the funds available to contribute to the poor greyhound’s costs. GC has transferred a donation to LAW and hopefully this will fund a full recovery. Let’s hope and pray that we are soon posting pictures of him wagging his tail or reclining on a sofa in a loving home.
“Basta ya!” (Enough is enough!) was one among many comments made alongside our petition, imploring King Felipe VI of the Kingdom of Spain to withdraw his association with El Campeonato de Espana de Galgos en Campo through the Copa Su Majestad El Rey.
This would certainly be more befitting of his reign over a modern European society in the 21st century. The petition, which has now ended, collected 3,751 signatures from around the world.
This comes after our letter on behalf of all of the international organisations supporting Protectora y Santuario Scooby last year. We warned the King that if he didn’t act, we’d launch a petition.
We’ve now posted the final petition to King Felipe VI, along with the many comments we received.
In April, Greyhound Compassion was invited to the All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (@APDAWG1) meeting about third party puppy sales. APDAWG seems to be an agile group giving small to mid-size dog welfare charities, organisations and campaigners a voice in Westminster.
Chaired by Rob Flello (Labour MP at the time and very good dog advocate) and Marc Abraham, the meeting had energy and gave us hope for an active voice on dog related issues in Westminster.
We were, however, hugely disappointed to learn at the meeting that DogsTrust, Battersea and the Blue Cross refuse to support an immediate ban on puppies sold in pet shops, preferring a stronger licensing regime for breeders.
Everything we’ve heard from Local Authority Inspectors suggests that local authorities have neither the financial nor human resources to strengthen licensing or stray dog control. This would be a completely unrealistic expectation.
Apparently, DogsTrust does not see a ban as a practical solution even though the Select Committee on Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs recommended a ban. We heard stories of back street and rural puppy farming supplying puppies for internet and pet shop sales and families buying these puppies in good faith.
Often, the puppies turn out to be sick with fatal consequences, or they end up in rescue because families cannot cope with the newly acquired puppy. This is a serious welfare issue and does mean that irresponsible breeding and abandonment of these dogs unnecessarily adds, at best, to an inflation the numbers in pounds and rescue centres (where we know the rescued greyhounds are also queuing up) and at worst to suffering and death.
A ban would improve the welfare of millions of dogs in the UK. Disturbingly, it has become apparent that, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has actually advised the Government against banning third party sales. The DogsTrust’s aversion to a ban appears to be primarily based on a view that it is necessary to satisfy the demand for puppies. Fuller information is available here. We were pleased to hear a statement read by the RSPCA making it clear that a ban is the only way to end puppy farming.
Since April, no meeting has been held by the APDAWG while new appointments are made. We will bring you further updates when we can.
One of the highlights of September is a trip to PupAid, the fun dog show organised by Marc Abraham (Marc The Vet) and his team of volunteers. The event is held in support of the PupAid campaign to end the cruel practice of puppy farming.
We entered Magic the greyhound into ‘Most Macho’ and he took 4th place, judged by Ali Drew from Ex on the Beach. Petal, the galgo, took 4th place in ‘Bravest Dog’ judged by Peter Egan, Sir Tony Robinson, Pen Farthing and Finn the police Dog with PC Dave Wardell.
PupAid is a lovely event, putting value on the dogs and exuding a warm, informal and fun atmosphere, helped by large doses of sunshine. Through awareness-raising and education, PupAid aims is to discourage people from buying puppies from pet shops or online from dealers. They ambition is that demand for these poorly pups will decrease, bringing to an end this evil practice of puppy farming. Marc relentlessly lobbies MPs in Westminster to positively influence laws affecting our nation’s pets. The campaign has the support of 120 MPs.
How and where should you find a dog?
PupAid’s aim is to educate the British public about the correct way to get a dog. They are urging people to either adopt a rescue dog or visit a responsible breeder where you will always see the puppy with its mother. If the puppy is not interacting with mum and the breeder is not an Assured Breeder recommended by the Kennel Club, then be suspicious.
If you ask us though, ‘adopt don’t shop!’ and only from a rescue centre which is a registered charity.
Over the years we’ve noticed at all of our collections how the public is now fully aware of the ills of the greyhound racing industry. Many of the people we speak to also know what fantastic pets greyhounds make. This in itself is not unusual.
There is also always the ex-trainer, son of an old-time trainer, who remembers schlepping between Walthamstow or White City or any other track in the country, or a former kennel maid or racing owner. They come over to the dogs, touch them with a deeper fondness than the usual city centre shoppers, and stuff a tenner in the tin as they explain that they know the dirty washing of inside racing and are glad to have thrown in the towel. This is not unusual.
There are others who ask us about Greyhound Compassion’s charitable objectives and we talk about the galgos rescued by Scooby. They are absolutely horrified when they learn about the thousands of galgos bred and killed every year for the hare coursing fraternity. Some shed a tear as we talk about the galgos rescued from the streets and hunters by Scooby. This is emotional, but not unusual.
So what was unusual about our flag day in Welwyn Garden City? It didn’t rain, was quite warm and sunny! But it wasn’t the weather or the kids learning how to interact with a pet dog. It was the outpouring of warmth from the donors who proactively came up to Dustin, Lucy, Petal and Magic.
They told us so fluently about their greyhound at home on the sofa, their lurcher who had stolen the lamb steak the night before (Chilli, you know who you are!), their greyhound they’d moved overseas with and is now commanding respect in their local village, their neighbour’s greyhound who has convinced them to home a greyhound when they retire. It was endless.
The affection they showed for Dustin and his co-collectors was enormous. This was coupled with an increased abhorrence for the opaque racing industry which exploits the greyhounds as its commodity without any obvious care for injuries or life expectancy beyond the racing return.
We are very grateful to the donors who folded up their loose change and put in our tin on that day in WGC, but what was striking was the infinite and immeasurable sympathy for these gentle, affectionate and abused hounds.
Belushi, the cheeky chap rescued from the streets, has passed away having suffered kidney failure. Belushi was a long-term Scooby resident who was part of our Sponsor A Hound scheme. Like so many strays in the Medina del Campo area Belushi was a galgo mix: The result of dumped galgos breeding freely with other abandoned dogs, living their early years as a stray before finding a safe haven at Scooby. Poor Belushi had been overlooked by potential homes possibly because he was black. The black galgos are always, for some strange reason, less popular. We’re so sad to have lost him at a relatively young age in the prime of his cheekiness.
Belushi’s place will be taken by Neron. Neron is a stunning and regal chap but suffering sadly with Leischmania. Neron was rescued from the streets, having been exploited for one hare coursing season. He will now live out his days with the Scooby shelter manager where he’ll receive full home comforts and his regular medication. Neron is particularly fond of the garden and inspecting the vegetable patch and flowerbeds before reclining in his armchair for his daily siesta.
If you would like to sponsor a Greyhound Compassion hound for yourself or as a gift, please check out Neron, Rocio, Freya, Pandora and Apollo and their stories.