By Emma Butler
All greyhound racing at GBGB licensed racecourses has been suspended in order to meet the guidance from the government on social distancing.
For those of us campaigning to bring an end to greyhound racing on welfare terms, the news that greyhounds won’t be racing should be welcome. However, ending greyhound racing in this way is problematic for all concerned and, once again, it may be the greyhounds that pay the ultimate price.
The GBGB have stated that putting a temporary stop to racing will have an immediate economic impact on those working in the sport. In an attempt to reduce some of this impact, the GBGB will be paying greyhound trainers 50p per dog per day to assist them with providing food and bedding for their greyhounds. The GBGB claim that this contingency eliminates any risk to trainers not being able to meet the basic welfare needs of their greyhounds due to loss of income in the short term.
Whether 50p per dog per day is enough to ensure the welfare of a greyhound could be debated. Certainly the cost to Forever Hounds Trust of looking after our rescued dogs is far greater than 50p per day per dog.
However, of very real concern is that with greyhounds no longer being of economic value, some trainers may seek to get rid of their dogs altogether.
Dog rescues run at capacity most of the time. There are always more dogs needing help than space available and there are always more dogs needing forever homes than home offers available. And that is under normal circumstance.
What we have at the moment is far from normal circumstances and there could not be a worse time for a tsunami of greyhounds leaving the racing industry in need of rescue spaces and homes.