Connor Anderson an animal rights campaigner today writes in the Havering Daily.
Another fatality at Romford Greyhound stadium last Friday night has once again ignited calls for the sport to be boycotted. The dog, known as “Dower Product”, suffered a broken leg after falling on the first bend, and was subsequently put down.
To those who, for years, have campaigned against Greyhound racing, this will sadly come as no surprise. Shocking statistics from the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) show a recorded 710 deaths and 4,970 injuries in 2019 alone. Not all of these fatalities were due to injuries, with 123 killed due to “treatment costs” and 83 after being “designated unsuitable for homing”. The killing of dogs who aren’t lucky enough to be rehomed after retirement, plus those bred into the industry who don’t make the cut, is sadly all too common. It’s also worth noting that these statistics could well be underreported, as injured dogs can sometimes be killed at independent vets, where data will not be released. To many people, a night out at the dogs is seemingly a bit of harmless fun, but to those who know of the horrors that go on behind the scenes, comparisons could very easily be made with ‘sports’ in other parts of the world that we in Britain collectively condemn – bullfighting being just one example.
To make matters worse, the aforementioned statistics are not simply the result of malpractice that could be easily fixed by updating existing legislation. The harrowing truth is that injuries and fatalities are, and always have been, an inevitable part of this sport, which is reflected by the fact that all licensed Greyhound tracks in the UK are legally required to have a freezer to store dead dogs. Could you imagine if the fatality rate in football was so high that all stadiums were legally required to have a morgue? The calls for change would be deafening. And yet, this has been allowed to go on in the Greyhound racing industry relatively unchallenged for nearly 100 years.
The good news is that awareness is starting to be raised, resulting in declining attendances at Greyhound races for a number of years now. Just 20 Greyhound tracks remain in the UK, with Romford and Crayford being the only ones left in London, and earlier this year, the oldest in the country (Belle Vue in Manchester) closed its doors for good. So for activists and dog-lovers alike, there is certainly cause for optimism that one day in the not-so-distant future, this so-called ‘sport’ will be consigned to the history books for good. But for now, whilst dogs continue to be bred into existence for the sole purpose of being raced for profit, in all weathers, and with the inevitable injuries and fatalities that come with that, it is important for us to continue to speak up, and make those around us aware of how this seemingly harmless bit of fun can have such dire consequences.
For further information on what’s wrong with Greyhound racing, and what you can do to help, visit http://www.cagednw.co.uk