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William Hill targeted in Greyhound campaign -
Group urges switch to virtual racing

A LEADING Greyhound welfare organisation is again targeting one of the nation’s foremost bookmakers as part of an ongoing campaign against the Greyhound Racing industry, which it accuses of cruel practices, leading to several thousand ex-racing Greyhounds being abandoned or killed each year.

Greyhound protection group Greyhound Action has launched VIRTUAL VIRTUES, a major campaign to persuade bookmakers to cease their involvement in greyhound racing and concentrate on virtual (computerised) racing instead.

Greyhound Action say that William Hill are the first focus of the campaign, because they put more money into dog racing than any other bookie.

Last month Greyhound Action supporters demonstrated outside the William Hill AGM in London. On July 2nd the group will be staging pickets outside the company's betting shops in many different parts of the country, this action coinciding with the final of the William Hill sponsored Greyhound Derby, the biggest event in the dog racing calendar, which is being run on that day
Greyhound Action's UK coordinator Tony Peters said: "William Hill own two greyhound stadiums (at Sunderland and Newcastle-upon-Tyne) and the company pour millions of pounds into greyhound racing every year, through their betting-shops, on-line betting, digital racing channel and sponsorship of races, such as the Greyhound Derby.

"In recent years the greyhound racing industry has been in decline and dozens of tracks have been forced to close. Its unpopularity is certain to increase as the public becomes more and more aware of the tragic fate of the dogs, and it is inevitable that share-prices of companies involved in dog racing will suffer considerably.

"On the other hand, virtual racing, which involves no suffering or slaughter, is becoming increasingly popular with punters. We are saying to William Hill that the time has come for them to disengage from live greyhound racing and concentrate instead on the virtual alternative, for the good of the company, its shareholders - and, above all, the dogs."

According to Floyd Amphlett, Editor of the racing journal Greyhound Star, writing in OUR DOGS (Friday Essay, June 10th), official Greyhound racing industry statistics show that around 10,000 racing Greyhounds are registered every year, of which 80% are Irish and 20% British, although the figure jumped to 13,000 in 2004 as a direct result of increased fixtures for betting shops, often referred to as ‘BAGS’ racing. The racing industry’s official welfare body the Retired Greyhound Trust re-homed 3,000 ex-racing dogs in 2004.

However, Greyhound Action claim that far more ex-racers are abandoned or killed when their racing careers are over, rather than being put up for rehoming.

As part of the campaign, Greyhound Action have produced a special ‘William Kill’ colour leaflet, calling on the public to boycott William Hill until the company ceases its involvement with greyhound racing.

Mr Peters concluded: "Our supporters will be distributing the ‘William Kill’ at pickets outside William Hill betting shops throughout the country on Saturday, July 2nd, as part of our Greyhound Derby Day of Action."

William Hill declined to comment.

Anyone interested in taking part in this campaign,
please contact Greyhound Action on 01562 745778
or visit their website at www.greyhoundaction.org.uk
info@greyhoundaction.org.uk