Photo by John D Jackson
AS PART of Greyhound Remembrance Weekend, the campaign group Action for Greyhounds UK held a special Remembrance procession and ceremony outside Yarmouth racetrack last Sunday.
Greyhound Remembrance Day is held both nationally and internationally every year in memory of the millions of greyhounds that have been abused and killed by the racing industry throughout the world.
Some people travelled long distances to join local people to be part of Greyhound Remembrance Day at Great Yarmouth on Sunday 23 July and to participate in a special event covering greyhound tracks globally. The memorial procession of approximately 60 people, many of whom had brought along their rescued greyhounds that had been discarded by the racing industry when they were either of no further use, never made the grade, injured or simply abandoned.
The march was headed with two supporters holding a banner, displaying the wording 'Disposable Dogs', followed by the rescued greyhounds and their owners, where the silent procession with banners posters and placards, made its way from Bure Park Yarmouth Road, to the Great Yarmouth track, where passing motorists gave lots of support by sounding their horns.
A one-minute silence was held outside Yarmouth stadium, where 80 purple balloons were released with message tags attached, representing 80 years of suffering and death since greyhound racing started in the UK in July 1926 at Belle Vue, Manchester.
According to campaigners, the number of dogs that have lost their lives to the British greyhound racing industry since greyhound racing first began 80 years ago could easily be over a million.
The remembrance procession then made its way back to Bure Park, where speeches were given, including details of the recent 'killing fields' media expose, where 10,000 greyhounds had been murdered and buried by one individual over a period of 15 years, to dispose of the racing industry’s unwanted 'commodities'. Details were given of racetracks that had closed during 2005 across the UK, Ireland, USA, and Australia, along with the news that the State of Massachusetts had just joined other states in the USA by banning dog racing.
One of the tracks that had closed in the UK was Warwick, where tragic 'Rusty' last raced in 2004, before being shot in the head due to him not being quick enough anymore due to an injured toe. Rusty was left to die for two days on a tip in Wales; his ‘executioner’ later received a prison sentence. Warwick track closed at the end of 2005. Information regarding other campaigning events were given, together with a selection of poems read out by supporters.
Following the memorial event, supporters then went to the Norfolk & Suffolk Animal Trust for refreshments, and to meet their rescued dogs.
Action for Greyhounds UK is part of a national campaign to ban commercial greyhound racing due to the vast numbers of dogs killed and abandoned every year, either because they are not suitable for racing or because their racing careers are over. Many dogs are no more than three years old when destroyed. Thousands of dogs every year sustain serious injuries whilst racing on tracks.
The RSPCA have also expressed their own deep concern about the cruelty problems within the greyhound racing industry in a recent Parliamentary brief. The RSPCA admits that a large number of dogs are abandoned, killed or euthanased because of the costs involved in keeping them after retirement.
Annie Boddey of Action for Greyhounds commented: "We are very encouraged by the amount of public support we receive as more and more people become aware, and we urge people to continue to boycott greyhound racing, so that the industry will finally come to an end, and the suffering and untimely death of thousands of greyhounds will be prevented.
l For National / International information: please contact Tony & Louise Peters of Greyhound Action 01562 700 043 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.greyhoundaction.org.uk