Fifteen greyhounds die in three years at Shawfield Stadium 6

Fifteen greyhounds die in three years at Shawfield Stadium

Fifteen greyhounds died and 197 injuries to animals were recorded at Shawfield Stadium between 2017 and 2020, according to new figures.

Official data from Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) also shows that across the UK, during the same period, there were 3,153 greyhound deaths and 18,345 recorded injuries.

Animal welfare campaigners have described the statistics as “appalling” and accused greyhound racing’s governing body, GBGB, of failing to keep promises to reduce injuries and deaths. They are calling for greyhound racing to be banned.

The GBGB said that “greyhound racing upholds the very highest standards of welfare”.

The figures were obtained by the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party committee for animal welfare. 

The industry has clearly demonstrated that it has neither the willingness nor ability to self-regulate. The decline of racing in Scotland also demonstrates a lack of public support for this practice. It is time to put an end to this cruel and outdated industry in Scotland.

Eve Massie, OneKind

Say No to Greyhound Racing in Scotland, said: “Despite GBGB’s promise to drive down injuries within five years, we see an increase in injuries for the last three years and despite Shawfield stadium racing one night a week for most of 2019 and 2020 compared to other tracks racing several times a week, the injuries for those years were higher than the national figure. 

“Greyhound racing should be banned in Scotland now to prevent Shawfield from re-opening and so eliminating the prospect of the cruelty of greyhound racing for once and for all,” the campaign group added.

shawfield
Greyhound during a race

Eve Massie of OneKind, an animal welfare organisation based in Edinburgh, said: “The industry has clearly demonstrated that it has neither the willingness nor ability to self-regulate. The decline of racing in Scotland also demonstrates a lack of public support for this practice. It is time to put an end to this cruel and outdated industry in Scotland.”

Mark Ruskell MSP, Scottish Greens environment spokesperson, said: “The terrible treatment of greyhounds by the racing industry is nothing new, but it is increasingly concerning. I don’t believe there is any justification for continuing to allow greyhound racing in Scotland when the treatment of racing dogs is so consistently awful.”

In reply, Mark Bird, chief executive of the GBGB, said that as a GBGB licensed track, Shawfield Stadium and its trainers “follow our rules of racing and are required to protect and promote the safety and wellbeing of greyhounds at all times”. 

As such, through our Greyhound Commitment and the upcoming publication of our new welfare strategy, we are committed to further safeguarding the health and wellbeing of racing greyhounds at every stage of their lives.

Mark Bird, chief executive of the GBGB

The GBGB closely monitors every injury sustained at tracks, Bird continued, adding that the “vast majority of cases are minor and can be easily treated” allowing greyhounds to make a safe return to the track or to “begin their retirement in loving homes as pets”.

“Our annually published data demonstrates the progress which has been made in recent years but we are committed to driving this further,” Bird said. “As such, through our Greyhound Commitment and the upcoming publication of our new welfare strategy, we are committed to further safeguarding the health and wellbeing of racing greyhounds at every stage of their lives.

“As part of this, we are working closely with government to achieve more sustainable funding from the bookmaking industry as this will allow us to safeguard welfare for the long term.”

Shawfield Stadium – which has not held any events since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 – was asked to comment.

In 2020 The Ferret reported that a greyhound trainer at Shawfield Stadium was banned for breaching animal welfare rules after neglecting a dog so badly it had to be euthanised.

A kennel inspector who discovered the emaciated animal said it was “the worst condition of a greyhound I have seen”, prompting critics of greyhound racing to call for it to be banned.

Photo credit: iStock/EcoPic

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