- Report called for greater transparency of data from the racing industry, which will inform greater understand the welfare issues facing these animals, as well as aid rescue charities plan their resources and alert the public to the number of homes that well be needed.
- Bookmakers should pay a mandatory contribution to the welfare of retired greyhounds, in the same way that they do for horse racing.
- The report recommends that the racing industry be allowed just two years before improvements to welfare must be in place.
Forever Hounds Trust (Forever Hounds Trust) have today welcomed the recommendations made by the EFRA inquiry into Greyhound Racing as a ‘huge step forward in the welfare of greyhounds in the UK.’
The charity is particularly pleased with the recommendation for bookmakers to be required to pay a proportionate mandatory contribution to greyhound welfare. This already happens in the horse racing industry.
Currently, bookmakers make a voluntary contribution towards rehoming which amounts to just £1.4 million per annum. The average cost of rehoming an ex-racing greyhound is £1000 per dog to provide veterinary treatment, including dentals, neutering and vaccinating, house and rehome them. With 9,000 dogs retiring from the industry each year, a £1.4 million contribution from bookmakers leaves a shortfall of £7.6 million.
However, Forever Hounds Trust says that it isn’t just about the money. Emily Burns-Sweeney, Director of Homing, Kennelling and Welfare, gave oral evidence to the EFRA inquiry. She says: “Retired ex-racing greyhounds are experiencing a ‘perfect storm’ of factors, meaning they face a precarious fate upon exiting the industry. Unregulated breeding means racing greyhounds are cheap to purchase – and to replace if they are injured. In addition, it is becoming increasingly hard to re-home dogs. A reduced number of people owning their own homes has led to more people in privately rented accommodation with a ‘no pets’ rule. Dog ownership has steadily fallen across the UK, and welfare organisations are finding it increasingly challenging to find a suitable home for these wonderful pets.”
Currently 9,000 greyhounds are estimated to retire from the racing industry each year. This is twice the number welfare organisations are able to rehome due the public’s appetite for rehoming ex-racing greyhounds.
“Yes, we need money to help care for the greyhounds exiting the racing industry, but that alone will not solve the problem. The public are unaware of the volume of dogs we need to find homes for, and we desperately need more people to come forward and offer a home. Greyhound make great pets. We affectionately refer to them as the 40mph couch potato as they do not need much exercise and spend most of the day sleeping. They are incredibly gentle companion animals and are particularly suited to people who prefer a sedate lifestyle or those with limited space.”
Read the full EFRA report here.
Read the EFRA press release regarding the report here.
Listen to Forever Hounds Trust’s Radio 5 Live interview about the report here – Emily Burns-Sweeney discusses the issues at 2 hrs 2 mins.