MSPs urged to 'lead the way' by banning greyhound racing in Scotland

MSPs have been urged to “lead the way in the UK” by implementing a full ban on greyhound racing in Scotland.

The Scottish SPCA said 197 dog injuries and 15 deaths were reported at Shawfield Stadium in Rutherglen, Scotland’s only regulated race track, between 2017 and 2020.

It added: “This is 15 deaths too many. We have no doubt that number would be higher if the pandemic hadn’t forced the temporary closure of the stadium.”

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The animal welfare charity said there are no equivalent figures for the unregulated Thornton race track in Kirkcaldy, but added the “possibility of injury or death” at the site is “presumed to be higher”.

Greyhound racing at Shawfield Stadium. Picture: Ian Rutherford

It is backing a Holyrood petition to ban greyhound racing submitted by the campaign group Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation (SAGE).

SAGE told MSPs: “We believe the Scottish Government is not only failing greyhounds but is actively condoning a cruel and outdated practice.

"We believe Scotland is better than that.”

In a letter to Holyrood’s rural affairs, islands and natural environment committee, Mike Flynn, chief superintendent of the Scottish SPCA, said: “Scotland needs to lead the way in the UK and put the welfare of racing greyhounds first by implementing a full ban on this outdated industry.”

Mark Bird, chief executive of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), the regulator of licensed greyhound racing, said welfare “is absolutely paramount”.

He added: “What is often overlooked by those who would like to see racing banned is that the protection racing greyhounds receive goes far beyond what is afforded to pet dogs in the UK.

"As regulator, we closely monitor the welfare of all GBGB registered greyhounds and have a very strict anti-doping policy.

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"There is no place for mistreatment of greyhounds within our sport and we are prepared to take the strongest action if evidence of this is ever found.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said it takes animal welfare and wildlife crime “very seriously”.

She added: “We expect animal owners to care appropriately for their animals and to adhere to all legislation and standards.

“Where the welfare of any greyhound is not being met, the provisions of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 allow for action to be taken by the relevant agencies to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases.”



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