Representatives of greyhound and lurcher rescue charity, Forever Hounds Trust, yesterday attended an event organised by a number of animal welfare charities to discuss the grave and pressing need to improve greyhound welfare in the UK. About 20 MPs attended the session in Westminster, hosted by Angela Smith MP in support of the concerns of the welfare members of the Greyhound Forum. The Forum’s nine welfare charities united to share their disappointment over the Government’s inaction to amend the 2010 Greyhound Regulations – at the detriment of the welfare of racing Greyhounds involved in the sport.
More than 8,000 greyhounds are registered for racing each year in the UK, and the charity says that not enough is being done to ensure the welfare of these dogs both during and at the end of their racing lives.
With at least the same number of dogs leaving the racing industry each year as enter it, there are 8,000 homes required annually for retired dogs. The Retired Greyhound Trust, which is the only body to receive any money from the racing industry for the purpose of rehoming dogs, finds homes for 4,000 greyhounds each year. Other charities, including FHT, add to this number but it is estimated that up to 3,500 racing greyhounds disappear each year.
Forever Hounds Trust are calling on the government to make the fate of racing greyhounds more transparent and to hold those responsible for the dogs’ welfare to account by publishing welfare data.
Rachel Grocott, CEO of Forever Hounds Trust, attended yesterday’s event and says: “We want to know the number of dogs that suffer injuries, are euthanised and also rehoming numbers. When a dog is injured we want to be able to find out what is being done to help that dog and to mitigate against life threatening injuries.
“We also want to extend the regulations that exist to cover trainers’ kennels as well as the racetrack. Only a small proportion of a racing dog’s life is spent actually at the track and we need to ensure high standards of welfare while they are trained and kennelled too.”
The charity is also calling for a fairer levy on bookmakers to contribute to the cost of welfare and rehoming of racing greyhounds. Rachel adds: “The levy for bookmakers should be at least the same as for horseracing. The welfare of the animals should be of this highest priority for everyone.”
Clarissa Baldwin and Forever Hounds Trust Chair of Trustees Jan Lake with MP Jim Fitzpatrick.