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GBGB Response To Welfare Charities' Announcement

4 months ago

27th September, 2022 16h09

Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB)

Responding to the call for greyhound racing to be banned in the UK, Mark Bird CEO of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain which regulates licensed racing said:

“It is ludicrous that the agenda of animal rights extremists are being given credence within these charities. Welfare standards in licensed greyhound racing have improved dramatically over the past four years which is why this report fails to create an evidence-based case for reform. Since the launch of our Greyhound Commitment – which has led to a number of transformative welfare initiatives – progress has seen national track fatalities already reduced by half from 0.06% in 2018 to 0.03% in 2021. As the sport’s regulator we know there is no room for complacency around welfare, which is why we have built on this through our long-term Strategy “A Good Life for Every Greyhound”. This has been developed with the input of leading academics and veterinarians and has been welcomed across the political spectrum as a detailed plan for driving forward welfare standards further still.

“The work we have announced, and indeed begun, as part of our Welfare Strategy represents our continued commitment to world-class standards of welfare. Protection for licensed racing greyhounds already goes far beyond what is afforded to domestic pets in the UK and our Strategy will ensure our existing approach fully acts upon our regulatory remit to safeguard welfare across these athletes’ entire lives.

“This is pandering to the whims of extremists – quoting data that is inaccurate, making claims that do not stand up to challenge and trying to galvanise support at a time when the real emergency in animal welfare is elsewhere. Just last week, the Chief Executive of Dogs Trust warned that, due to the cost-of-living crisis, we are facing an unprecedented animal welfare issue with families unable to afford to keep looking after their pets. Yet today, Dogs Trust, Blue Cross and RSPCA are adding to this risk by calling for the welfare of thousands of well looked after greyhounds to be added to this mounting problem.

“Those we know who were spoken to as part of the charities’ review – including from within the GBGB – were amazed by the naivety, closed minds and ignorance of those writing their report. That the charities are using this as evidence to call for a ban is wholly inappropriate. They have not actually published their review which suggests how little evidence is actually in it.”

Jeremy Cooper, Chair of the GBGB and former Chief Executive of the RSPCA said:

“These are the ill-conceived tactics of organisations feeling pressured into playing to the extremists in their midst. It is less about greyhounds and animal welfare and far more about attempting to galvanise funding and support at the extreme end of the animal rights movement. This is the edge of the slippery slope and I know that everyone involved with horse racing, other animals in sport and all working animals will be concerned that, if such calls are taken seriously, they will be next.

“We are fortunate that all the major political parties see through the tactics of the RSPCA, Blue Cross and Dogs Trust and have welcomed our approach to regulation and welfare. Their internal review is an amateur exercise in trying to make political capital rather than a data and fact-led approach to welfare. It is sad and disappointing that once respected animal charities have succumbed to the agendas of the extremists.

“Families and individuals who support these charities will be shocked that they are spending the money they donate on pursuing this activist agenda, rather than focusing on the pressing need to protect household pets that owners are unable to afford to keep. It says everything about what is wrong with these charities and nothing about animal welfare.”

Professor Madeleine Campbell (an EBVS® European Veterinary Specialist and a RCVS Specialist in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law) who wrote “A Good Life for Every Greyhound” said:

“In leading the development of the GBGB Strategy, I spoke to academics, specialists, vets, global experts in animal welfare and a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that what we have put in place is world class in its approach to the welfare of greyhounds. That is why its publication earlier this year was welcomed across the political spectrum and amongst such experts. In contrast, the RSPCA, Blue Cross and Dogs Trust have not published any information about their internal review.”

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