Scots greyhound sold to China prompts calls for export crackdown

A dog that once raced at Scotland’s only licensed greyhound track has been sold to China as campaigners warn it could be slaughtered for the meat trade.

Buzz Bomb Alley is the first confirmed sale of a greyhound from Scotland being sold to Chinese breeders, prompting calls for a crackdown on a lucrative export trade involving mostly Irish dogs.

Around 50 Irish-bred greyhounds, some that have raced in Britain, are being advertised on Chinese breeding sites, according to animal rights campaigners who have rescued emaciated racing dogs from China.

They fear that dogs exported to China for its breeding industry will be kept in appalling conditions and sold to meat markets once they are too old or too sick to breed.

Dozens of greyhounds racing in Scotland test positive for banned substances such as cocaine

Buzz Bomb Alley was traced to China by a group called Caged Nationwide. The greyhound raced at Shawfield Stadium in Rutherglen, Glasgow, on February 15.

A trainer, Willie Finnie, said he acted as a middleman in the sale, but claimed to have no knowledge the dog would be sold abroad.

Finnie, from Lanarkshire, is a well-known trainer who transports dogs between Scotland and Ireland.

In 2016 he offered to sell prescription drugs to affect dogs’ performance to reporters from the Sunday Post during an investigation into race-fixing. He denied any wrongdoing.

Last week, he said that he agreed to take Buzz Bomb Alley to Ireland after a request by an Irish trainer who has exported greyhounds to China.

The greyhound had been owned by former trainer Allan Power, who sold the dog to the Irishman via Finnie for £500. Power expressed outrage on hearing the dog ended up in China.

Finnie said he agreed to facilitate the sale of Buzz Bomb Alley after a phone call from a man whom he had met twice after taking two brood bitches to Ireland.

Finnie insisted he had no idea that Buzz Bomb Alley would be exported to China and was told that the dog would be racing in Dublin.

He said: “So I took it over to Ireland, met the man, he gave me the money and signed all the documents.

“And three weeks later Allan phoned me and says, ‘that dog’s in China’ and I says, ‘you’re joking, I knew nothing about it.’

“I phoned the man, and Allan asked for the man’s number in Ireland, and I gave him it. I says, ‘There it is there Allan’. I knew nothing about it and that was it. I swear on my grandkids’ lives I didn’t know that dog would be going to China.”

Power said he no longer races or trains dogs. He added: “First of all, anyone who sends dogs to China or any other countries with no welfare should receive a lifetime ban. The Irishman is a serial offender, and had he contacted me directly to buy any dog he’d have been chased, hence why he uses other people who don’t know his past.

“I don’t race or train dogs now but can honestly say this is the first incident of this kind.”

Caged Nationwide, which has helped to rescue dogs from China, said: “Greyhounds have been specifically sold to breeders in China who very often keep them in dire conditions, and will use them for breeding until around 12 years old, which is often the entire lifespan of a greyhound. There are no laws to protect greyhounds at all in China

“Greyhounds have been located from the Chinese advertising databases and we continue to work with Birmingham Greyhound Protection, who have a sister rescue in China, and have rescued and returned former exported greyhounds to the UK, after being found in emaciated conditions.”

Say No To Greyhound Racing Scotland said: “Buzz Bomb Alley is the first confirmed greyhound who raced at Shawfield sold to Chinese breeders. They will breed from him until he dies, probably in horrendous conditions and most of his offspring will end up in the Chinese slaughterhouses.

“We need a full ban on greyhound racing in Scotland and our MSPs must sit up and listen.”

We revealed on 1 October that 28 greyhounds had tested positive at Shawfield for banned substances such as cocaine.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) said: “As a welfare organisation and as the industry’s regulator in Great Britain we abhor any cruelty to greyhounds.

“Standards of welfare in British greyhound racing are the strongest in the world.

“We work closely with DEFRA to maintain an accurate picture of welfare standards not just in China but in many other countries.

“If evidence is passed to us of GBGB licence holders directly sending dogs to China we will intervene. Campaigners have not provided us with direct evidence this is being done by GBGB licence holders. Were they to do so, we would not hesitate to take the strongest action possible.”

The article was published in the Sunday Post on 29 September 2019.

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