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Welfare

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) cares passionately about greyhound welfare and is committed to working to raise standards of care still further.

 

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Spending On Welfare
The sport now spends approximately £4 million, or more than one third of its annual budget on welfare. In 2009, key areas of welfare expenditure included £1.7 million support for the Retired Greyhound Trust, £1,090,000 towards veterinary attendance at trial and race meetings, £432,000 towards track safety improvements, £232,000 in grants to trainers to improve their kennel and transport facilities and £47,000 for welfare research.

 

Independently audited evidence of our financial commitment to greyhound welfare can be seen on the website of the British Greyhound Racing Fund.


Recent Welfare Initiatives
The GBGB Welfare Committee oversees many of the sport’s welfare initiatives. Its key areas of work include:

 

Retired Greyhounds
Whether through injury or age, the time comes for every greyhound to bow out from the action on the track and move onto pastures new in their retirement. It is very important that every owner notifies the GBGB when their greyhound has retired from racing.

This must be done using a distinctive green form that can be obtained from any licensed track, or by calling the GBGB on 020 7421 3770.

 

Alternatively, you can download a form by clicking the link below


GBGB Retirement Form (please refresh page if you experience problems when downloading)


The vast majority of owners take their responsibilities seriously and many take their ex-racers home to become part of the family or ensure that other members of the family or friends have a caring home to give to their greyhound.

The sport takes the issue of care after racing seriously and is striving to ensure that no greyhound is unnecessarily put down once its racing career is over.

 

The sport’s support for rehoming former racing greyhounds is predominantly through the Retired Greyhound Trust. Financial support has risen from £250,000 in 2001 to £1.75 million in 2009. The number of greyhounds rehomed by the RGT has also risen dramatically from 1,893 in 2001 to nearly 4,500 in 2007. There are now 70 branches of the RGT in Britain from the Isle of Skye to the Channel Islands.

The GBGB also administers the Retired Greyhound Fund that awards capital grants to rehoming groups and organisations, many of whom do not receive support from the Retired Greyhound Trust. Since its inception in 2005, grants totalling more than £150,000 have been awarded.

In addition, there are many other outlets through which retired greyhounds may be homed. These include charities such as Battersea Dogs Home that have greyhounds among a number of breeds, or Greyhound Rescue West of England that is substantial and devoted to homing greyhounds.

Many greyhounds are kept as pets by their owners on retirement. A large number are kept in retirement by their trainers; some of these will be rehomed in due course, others may live out their lives with the trainers.

 

 

Track Safety

The GBGB has produced best practice guidelines to maintain and improve the safety of racing surfaces at tracks. It is working on several practical welfare-based projects and is committed to sharing any findings with all greyhound tracks through the publication of easy-to-use manuals.

In 2009 the GBGB spent over £400,000 researching and improving the safety of tracks across the country, reducing injuries and helping to extend racing careers. The vast majority of tracks now have a bore hole, enabling them to be watered as part of their maintenance routines, whatever the weather. Work to improve tracks still further continues in 2010.

Upgrades to racecourse kennels have been completed in recent years and the sport has provided grants totalling more than £1m for total rebuilds and for the installation of temperature control and air management systems to ensure greyhounds can rest in comfort and safety before and after their races.

Welfare Research
The sport is committed to pursuing evidence-based policy, basing decisions on results from solid, scientific research.

The programme of welfare research continues to expand. It currently includes major projects examining potential new track surface materials, methods of identifying greyhounds, methods of oestrus suppression, track preparation methods and greyhound training practices.

The sport also offers bursaries each year to student vets wishing to carry out smaller research projects of benefit to greyhound welfare and offers work experience to student vets at greyhound training centres across the country.

Welfare During Transport
The welfare of greyhounds during transport is taken extremely seriously and strict rules are in place to ensure greyhounds travel to and from racecourses in safety and comfort.  Since 2004 the sport has provided 100% grants for trainers to install air management or air conditioning systems in their greyhound transport vans. Travel cages are important to ensure greyhounds are safely restrained in vehicles and grants are available to ensure such cages meet accepted requirements in terms of size and build.

Welfare at Trainers' Kennels
Trainers have their kennels regularly inspected by a GBGB Stipendiary Steward and by a qualified veterinary surgeon and there are strict minimum standards for kennels and exercise areas. The GBGB makes available grants to trainers each year to help them make welfare improvements so that these standards are not only maintained but comfortably surpassed.

The Role of Vets in Greyhound Racing
A vet is in attendance at all race and trial meetings. The vet checks the greyhounds before and after racing. Steps have also been taken to ensure the independence of track vets. The GBGB can stop vital central funding towards the cost of track vet attendance at a track if it believes that a contract with a track vet has been terminated unfairly.

The sport supports the work of the Society of Greyhound Vets, that helps to promote greyhound veterinary science, has developed various initiatives including a training DVD for track vets and is involved in the development of welfare policy via the membership of the GBGB Welfare Committee.

Drug testing
The GBGB undertakes random sampling of racing greyhounds to discourage bad feeding practices and to reduce the misuse of medication to mask injuries or affect performance. In 1993 when drug sampling started, the proportion of positive results was 3.22%. In 2006 this was reduced to 0.23%.

In the event of a greyhound returning a positive sample, the GBGB will hold a disciplinary inquiry. Penalties for offending trainers are appropriately stiff and, based on the figures above, are clearly an effective deterrent.

Regulating Welfare
In Britain, the licensed sector of the sport is regulated by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain. It enforces a comprehensive set of rules and regulations to ensure the sport meets strict welfare and integrity standards.

The sport has a zero tolerance policy for those that mistreat greyhounds. In the aftermath of the widely reported events in Seaham, in which it was discovered that some retired racing greyhounds had been killed in a manner contrary to the sport’s rules, several individuals found to have been involved were swiftly banned from the sport and heavily fined.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain became operational on 1st January 2009. It was established in accordance with the recommendations made in Lord Donoughue’s “Independent Review of the Greyhound Industry in Great Britain” and has taken on the functions of both the British Greyhound Racing Board and the National Greyhound Racing Club to create a single, modern, efficient and effective governing and regulatory body for the sport.

Supporting the self-regulatory framework is the secondary legislation pertaining to greyhound racing, under the Animal Welfare Act. The sport is worked with the government and leading animal welfare charities to develop this legislation which came into force in April 2010.

Those involved in greyhound racing must also comply with all other relevant legislation as appropriate. This may include the Gambling Act and legislation relating to liquor licensing at tracks, health and safety and transport of animals.

Greyhound Forum
The GBGB works closely with major welfare charities via the Greyhound Forum. This body, established more than ten years ago includes representatives from the RSPCA, Blue Cross and Dogs Trust. The Forum is an important arena for the discussion and development of industry-wide welfare projects.

 

 

 

More information
For more information about the sport’s programme of welfare initiatives, please email us at: welfare@gbgb.org.uk