Greyhound welfare Contents
There are around 15,000 active racing greyhounds in the UK today. Their welfare and the effectiveness of the existing regulatory framework are the focus of this report. New regulations on greyhound welfare were introduced in 2010 and are presently being reviewed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Our witnesses agreed that the 2010 Regulations have made improvements in the welfare conditions for greyhounds at the racing track. However, it is not possible to definitively say how much improvement has occurred because of an absence of readily available data concerning key welfare indicators, particularly around injuries incurred while racing. Looking at the broader welfare situation we have identified a number of key findings and corresponding recommendations:
- we recommend that Defra amend the 2010 Regulations to require the publication of essential welfare data relating to injury, euthanasia and rehoming numbers;
- bookmakers profiting from greyhound racing in any format (including online or overseas trade) have a responsibility to support greyhound welfare. We regard a statutory levy as the most effective mechanism to achieve this; and
- the 2010 Regulations should be extended beyond racetracks to cover standards at trainers’ kennels and include independent verification of those standards by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and local authorities.
Further areas for Defra’s regulatory review to consider include:
- new kennelling standards should be developed for Greyhound Board of Great Britain-licensed trainers in collaboration with welfare specialists;
- the industry needs to expand its financial support for welfare and consider alternative ways of increasing its revenue;
- creation of a minimum standard of track maintenance and preparation to be enforced across all racing venues—both those regulated by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain and the independent tracks;
- the GBGB Welfare Committee should proactively analyse UKAS inspection data to identify any trends that raise concern. This should feedback into the development of new standards;
- the introduction of random inspections at trainers’ kennels;
- development of industry-wide husbandry standards and provisions for training kennel staff; and
- initiatives to reduce the incidence of poor dental health in racing greyhounds.