We can end Greyhound racing for good

Dogs Trust call for a phased end to greyhound racing.

Esther the Greyhound relaxing at Dogs Trust Harefield

We, alongside other animal welfare organisations, have worked closely with the Greyhound industry for many years to try and improve welfare standards. But progress hasn’t happened quickly enough or on a large enough scale. 

Greyhounds running at speed around oval tracks is dangerous. It can cause injury which in some cases can be so severe that it is necessary to euthanise the dog.

According to Greyhound Racing Ireland (GRI), 2,146 greyhounds suffered injuries and 715 greyhounds were killed at Irish tracks, between 2015 and 2020. In 2021, 154 greyhounds died and a further 197 dogs were injured as a result of licensed greyhound racing in Ireland.

No dog should become injured or lose their life for entertainment.

The conditions racing dogs are kept in are poor and barren, with little (if any) enrichment, and fed a poor diet. The dogs are expected to race in extreme weather, and we have concerns about the number of dogs and puppies that are unaccounted for between birth and racing registrations, so often referred to by the sector as the "wastage".

Comprehensive internal reviews conducted by Dogs Trust Ireland found that there are still significant welfare issues for greyhounds throughout every stage of their lives which have not been resolved. Despite GRI introducing a new traceability system, we still have serious concerns about the number of dogs who fall outside the scope of the new traceability system and are unaccounted for before and after their racing career. 

The review also found there to be disjointed and ineffective regulation within the sector, a lack of transparency regarding industry practices, and additional concerns around the enforcement of regulatory standards. 

Things can’t go on like this.

All dogs deserve to live a full, happy life, free from the threat of injury or death. That's why we, together with other animal welfare charities, are calling for a phased end to the sport, which should be feasible within five years.

This is the only way we can secure good lives for these dogs.

The welfare of greyhounds has always been our priority. We’ve worked closely with the greyhound industry for many years to try to improve welfare conditions for the dogs, but progress has not been made quickly enough, or on a big enough scale. It is simply not acceptable that 869 greyhounds have died on racetracks in Ireland over the last six years, with 2,343 more injured, all in the name of entertainment. We are fully committed to the welfare of all greyhounds affected by our call for a phased end to the sport. We will continue to work collaboratively with the industry and other stakeholders to ensure the welfare of dogs is not compromised while working towards this.

Suzie Carley, Executive Director, Dogs Trust Ireland

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