Here we are trying to keep our rescued racers cool in afternoon temperatures of 25º, listening to reports of the Saddleworth Moor fire and reading intermittent bulletins about how to keep the elderly, our children and pet dogs comfortable in these record temperatures. We’re following all the advice reminding us that a dog cools only through his tongue and paws; advising us not to exercise our dogs in the heat of the day or on hot surfaces to avoid burned pads or worse, heatstroke. Having read a particularly gruelling report about heatstroke in dogs and in one particular pet dog in our area who sadly died of heatstroke today after his morning exercise, we checked just what the greyhound racing timetable in the UK for today looks like. We wondered if the tracks might have cancelled some race meetings. After all, if pet owners are not supposed to exercise their dogs in extremely high temperatures, surely greyhounds are not racing at 40mph around tracks at 2pm in the afternoon?
No, it’s worse than imagined, racing started at 10:29am today, probably just as the canine victim of heatstroke died in his local surgery, 20 minutes after arriving there from his morning exercise. The screenshots from the online greyhound racing information reveal that greyhound racing is definitely not being cancelled in this extreme heat.
The races commenced today at 10:29 and finish tonight at 22:45, just as we are starting to follow the TV doctors’ advice about keeping cool at night to ensure we sleep well through a hot and sticky slumber. When cross-referencing the race start times during the day with the weather forecast for the track locations, the temperatures range from 18º (with a “feels like” temperature of 20º) to 27º (with a “feels like” temperature of 28º). The evening to nighttime temperatures range from 19º to 23º, and 16º when the 22:45 race starts.
Isn’t this too much? Doesn’t racing in this extremely hot weather contradict all the advice we’re receiving for our pet dogs and their daily exercise?
Having cross-referenced with the weather forecast, we turned to The Greyhound Commitment announced by the The Greyhound Board of Great Britain on 14 March 2018. You can read The Commitment in full here. How does racing in this week’s hot weather gel with these sections of The Greyhound Commitment?
Doesn’t seem very committed, not much fun or enjoyment for the greyhounds racing in 27º.
Still, a former CEO of the RSPCA joins the Greyhound Board of Great Britain next week as its Chairman. Perhaps on Sunday night he’ll watch the long-range weather forecast for his first week in the job and cancel the racing if the hot weather continues.