We wrote to Clarissa Baldwin CBE, Chair of the Greyhound Forum, to ask what advice the Forum has been giving track managers in this heatwave when the guidance to pet dog owners has been to take all precautions to avoid heatstroke.
The response from Clarissa Baldwin CBE (Chair of the Greyhound Forum) acknowledged that the hot weather situation in racing is appalling and assured us that the Forum members were pressing for industry reform. The reply indicated that whilst the hot weather posters were sent to all tracks, there are currently no sanctions on tracks that continue to race when welfare of the greyhounds could be compromised. The Forum is asking for some proper scientific research, a Rule added to the Rule Book and then heavy sanctions on those that disregard it.
We responded by questioning why scientific research is needed when the dangers of exercising dogs in hot weather are already well-known. Indeed the RSPCA website has seasonal advice for dog owners. We also wondered why the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), as the regulator, couldn’t act to change or apply a special regulation in these extreme circumstances. All of this was accepted by the Chair and she informed us that talks were being held yesterday.
In parallel with this email correspondence we discovered that the GBGB had issued hot weather advice yesterday (in full below) which included: the track vet’s advice will be respected and racing managers are advised not to hold 6 bend races during the day. In our view this is not good enough for obvious reasons and implies the track vet’s advice is not always respected.
On the other hand the Irish Greyhound Board has suspended all trials and racing between 10am and 7:30pm (full details below) and has deferred key races. Both IGB and GBGB issued a veterinary advice bulletin about caring for racing greyhounds (both are below). Surprisingly the GBGB advice note indicates that some have advocated putting the greyhound in an open chest freezer. Thankfully the vet has rejected this idea warning of a real risk of freezer burns to the feet and any wetted skin.
It’s good that the IGB has taken these welcome steps and we think the GBGB should follow suit. We are surprised the GBGB has not taken adequate steps especially as yesterday was the first day of the GBGB’s new Chairman, formerly CEO of the RSPCA.