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Posted: 9th February 2024

Greyhound racing consultation opens in Scotland
There is currently one greyhound racing track operating in Scotland, which is unregulated.

Charities have welcomed a proposed bill which would ban the practice in Scotland.

A consultation has launched on a Member’s Bill, which could see the practice of greyhound racing banned in Scotland.

The bill has received the support of animal welfare charities, including Dogs Trust, who have criticised welfare standards in the sport.

The Members Bill was proposed earlier this year by Mark Ruskell MSP. If introduced, it would make it illegal to race greyhounds in Scotland.

The consultation includes proposals to phase out the practice by the time the proposed bill comes into force.

Greyhound racing had previously been consulted on by the Scottish government in 2023, when a case was made to introduce a statutory licensing scheme. However several animal welfare organisations have said that licensing does not go far enough to protect the dogs’ welfare.

Dogs Trust has stated its belief that greyhound racing is dangerous, as the high-speed sport causes significant injuries for dogs, with some requiring euthanising.

Quoting statistics from the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), Dogs Trust says that over 2,200 greyhounds have died as a result of greyhound racing since 2018. There have been 22,000 injuries recorded.

There have also been internal reviews conducted by Dogs Trust, the RSPCA and Blue Cross, which suggest inadequate standards in kennelling and transporting the greyhounds. Dogs Trust says the dogs were kept in poor conditions, with little enrichment and a poor diet.

The GBGB has disputed these claims, stating its Code of Practice, produced with animal welfare charities and veterinary professionals, sets out specific rules for how greyhounds are kept at home and transported. This has also included one-off grants to ensure trainer’s vehicles are adequately air-conditioned, with monitoring conducted to ensure the vehicles meet required conditions.

They also state that their inspection scheme for licensed trainers’ kennels has received full accreditation from UKAS, which has independent oversight of kennelling standards.

There is currently one greyhound track operating in Scotland, which is unregulated.

Owen Sharp, chief executive of Dogs Trust, said: “We worked with the greyhound industry for many years to try to improve the welfare of dogs involved in greyhound racing.

“However, it’s clear that progress has not been made quickly enough, or on a big enough scale to have any impact, and industry is a long way from ensuring the welfare of all the dogs involved. Therefore, we believe the only option is to bring greyhound racing to a complete stop in Scotland and across the UK.”
A spokesperson for the GBGB, which regulates licensed British greyhound racing, said: “The Scottish government has already run a full consultation on this subject in recent months, as part of its wider review of the licensing of animal activities.
“While we await Scottish government’s report on this, it is unclear what the rationale or justification would be for duplicating the extensive work already undertaken – particularly when there are so many other pressing priorities.
“As regulator for the licensed sector of our sport in Great Britain, we have been clear that greater regulation is the only way to safeguard greyhound welfare. A ban would only jeopardise welfare.”

Image © Shutterstock

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