Forever Hounds Trust supports the campaign to ban greyhound racing in Wales. As a charity dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of greyhounds and lurchers in the UK we see first-hand the damage racing does to these dogs, as well as the neglect they suffer while being exploited as a commodity. We are aware of the claims from the greyhound racing industry that their dogs are well looked after and enjoy their racing. We take issue with that. While it is true that there are some dogs that leave the racing industry in reasonably good condition, there are many, many more that come to us with injuries and in poor health that is the result of neglect.
What we do believe, is that this neglect of racing greyhounds has become so ingrained that seeing a greyhound with a limp, rotting teeth, skin lesions and bald patches has become normalised. It’s not normal, nor is it acceptable, and it’s time it ended. While the greyhound racing industry may be satisfied to turn a blind eye to the everyday suffering of their dogs, we are not. Added to this is the risk of injury that faces every dog in every race. Most dog owners wouldn’t dream of putting their pets at risk of such an injury and yet everyday greyhounds risk life and limb for the entertainment of the betting industry.
Some of these injuries have been fatal. Dogs die as a direct result of greyhound racing. Dogs also lose limbs as a result of race injuries, or have lengthy recovery periods that can include complex surgery and months of physiotherapy. Even those that leave the track without broken bones can still suffer a lifetime of aches and pains and treatment for injuries that were considered unworthy of proper investigation or treatment at the time they happened. And the claim that greyhounds love to race holds no ground either. It’s important not to confuse a love of running, or even of chasing, with a love of racing. There are safe places for dogs to enjoy exercise, but a racetrack is not one of them.
Forever Hounds Trust have had many dogs come into our care after racing in Wales. This has included dogs who have had to have amputations, dogs with severe gashes, significant blood loss, and dogs who almost certainly would have lost their lives had there not been rescuers at the track able to take them immediately and charities like us willing to cover the cost of the extensive veterinary bills. While some of the worst injured dogs we have seen have come from the track in Wales, the greyhound racing industry in other areas of the UK is also causing the unnecessary neglect, injury and death of dogs. The injury statistics released by the GBGB each year show the level of injury and death experienced by racing greyhounds, and these figures don’t even include those racing at tracks that are outside GBGB regulation – such as the track in Wales. Injury statistics for those tracks are unreliable and under-reported.
With this first-hand experience of caring for the greyhounds rescued from the racing industry, we must call for a complete ban on greyhound racing, across the UK and including in Wales. It’s time this cruelty and exploitation of dogs stopped and the UK joined the forward-thinking countries around the world who have already ended greyhound racing for good.