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(Updated 22/4/01)

A better future for Greyhounds

Left to right Lord Lipsey, Annette Crosbie, Zak, Jim Fitzpatrick MP and Mike O’Brien MP.

Home Office Minister Mike O’Brien is to write to the greyhound industry to ask it how it proposes to address the issues of the welfare of greyhounds, both during their racing life and on retirement.

This follows a delegation to Mr O’Brien, the minister responsible for animal welfare, to solicit his support for more active measures. In particular, the delegation was concerned with the welfare of retired greyhounds. Of the 10,000 greyhounds which retire each year only some 1,800 are rehomed. Many of the rest are either killed often not humanely, or thrown on the streets.

The delegation included Annette Crosbie, co-star of tv’s “One Foot in the Grave” and an active campaigner on behalf of retired greyhounds; Jim Fitzpatrick MP; and Lord Lipsey accompanied by his retired greyhound Zak, the current Westminster Dog of the Year. Zak was found wandering the streets some six months after his racing career had ended, and was rehomed through Battersea Dogs’ Home.

Lord Lipsey said: “I am a keen supporter of greyhound racing. But the industry must get its act together on welfare. Otherwise, legislation to control it - or even a move to ban greyhound racing - will eventually become inevitable”.

Jim Fitzpatrick said: “The cost of dealing with these problems will only be a fraction of the enormous profits bookmakers are making out of betting on greyhounds”.
Annette Crosbie said: “Though the greyhound industry pays lip service to welfare it is paying quite inadequate attention to cases I have raised with it of dogs who have been maltreated at the end of their racing days.”
Mr O’Brien said: “The Government is concerned about the issue of greyhound welfare. This must be a matter for the greyhound industry to resolve. I know that work has already been done by the industry to improve the welfare of greyhounds, both during their racing life and upon their retirement from the track. I would strongly urge the industry to build upon this work. I will be writing to them asking for their help and advice on how they propose to address these issues”.