Demonstrators gather at Towcester Racecourse to protest Greyhound Derby

Greyhound Derby protesters gather at Towcester Racecourse
Greyhound Derby protesters gather at Towcester Racecourse

Greyhound Derby demonstrators gathered outside Towcester Racecourse to protest against racing dogs and their thousands of injuries

Greyhound racing protesters showed up at the Towcester Racecourse last Saturday to show their objection during the industry's largest annual event.

More than 60 people gathered outside the entrance to the Northamptonshire venue to highlight the cruelty they believe to be widespread in the greyhound industry.

Campaigners, including those from CAGED Nationwide (Campaign Against Greyhound Exploitation and Death), animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports and greyhound rescue group, Birmingham Greyhound Protection, believe the sport has failed in its duty to protect greyhounds, whilst using them for profit and human entertainment.

Rita James from CAGED Nationwide, said: "There is a stark contrast between what is dubbed the ‘richest greyhound race’ in the world and the poor treatment of dogs within the racing industry.

"The greyhound owners, trainers and punters will have been aiming to line their pockets – the winner brought his owner £175,000 – but it's unlikely they hold any interest in the welfare of the dogs and even the fate of the champions hangs precariously in the balance.

"We know that greyhounds in the UK are often killed when they stop being competitive at the tracks, for example if they become lame, too old or too slow.

"It isn't surprising that the rules of racing permit the destruction of dogs that sustain minor and or treatable injuries because they are perceived on economic ground as acceptable wastage.

"The whole industry revolves around money and so the welfare of the dogs comes bottom of the list, if it makes it at all.

"Being a champion dog and earning lots of prize money is no guarantee of humane treatment after racing.

"Both champions and non-graders have also been exported to countries that have no up-to-date animal welfare laws, including China. For many, that is their potential reward, rather than a safe, happy so-called ‘retirement’.”

Earlier this year, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain released figures revealing that 1,013 racing greyhounds died or were killed in 20171. The figures also revealed that greyhounds suffer almost 5,000 injuries every year – a startling number that suggests either one in every three racing dogs is being injured, or dogs are suffering multiple injuries.

Director of campaigns for the League Against Cruel Sports, Chris Luffingham, said: “The greyhound racing industry has had more than enough chances to improve, and instead of life getting any better for the dogs, we saw the death of more than 1,000 innocent victims last year.

“Any ‘sport’ that results in animals suffering for the sake of putting money in people’s pockets, is one we need to call time on.

"Greyhounds are born into a life of injury and for many their death is inevitable.

"You can’t have greyhound racing without dogs suffering, so we need to choose – are we a country of animal lovers or are we a country that supports greyhound racing? We can’t be both.”

Birmingham Greyhound Protection rescues and rehomes dogs from the racing industry.

"The group’s founder, Kerry Elliman, said: “We were demonstrating on behalf of all greyhounds being exploited by a self-regulating industry, including those we’ve found in China, that are only in that country because they were exported there for pure greed.

"Our voice is for all dogs that are suffering instead of being saved after a life in racing.”