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.