On Sep. 21 it was announced that the Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee has launched an inquiry into the welfare of greyhounds used for racing.
This is very welcome news to the League Against Cruel Sports as it is something The League has been calling for since October 2014. Time after time, independent reports reveal that cruelty, drug abuse, injury, neglect and killing are rife in greyhound racing and that the government regulations of the industry, introduced in 2010, are woefully inadequate.
The League's 2014 report, "The State of greyhound racing in Great Britain: a mandate for change," produced in conjunction with GREY2K USA Worldwide, shows that the life of a racing greyhound is still filled with abuse, neglect and early death. The findings of the report included:
- Racing dogs spend most of their time in small, barren kennels without social contact. Those that are housed in pairs are kept constantly muzzled which is highly distressing for them.
- Many are neglected and suffer fleas, worms, untreated injuries, malnutrition and dental problems. Industry sanctions against those who treat dogs in this manner are feeble and ineffectual.
- Poorly maintained tracks and racing frequency cause painful, and often lethal, injuries such as broken backs and shattered limbs. Shockingly, the industry is allowed to keep injury records secret.
- At least 10,000 dogs are deemed surplus to requirements every year. 8,000 are retired racers, the rest are young dogs that didn't make the grade.
- British charities re-home many surplus dogs, but thousands are unaccounted for each year. Some are abandoned, some killed crudely, some even sold for dissection.
The dog racing industry by its nature is very secretive, with no current legal obligation to disclose any information on greyhound welfare. The League strongly believes that to achieve real improvements in greyhound welfare, a number of fundamental changes to industry practices are needed. This should include: