A PEACEFUL march through central London that was organised to highlight the atrocities perpetrated by some trainers towards racing greyhounds once their racing careers are over, took place on November 18th.
Many greyhound rescues and groups came together at the march to show their unanimous disgust at the way these dogs have been culled. This was highlighted by the recent revelations of the ‘killing fields’ at Seaham, County Durham and at Leigh Animal Sanctuary this summer.
Over 350 marchers, some of whom had travelled from France especially to support the event, gathered to raise awareness about the fate of many racing greyhounds and call for the Government to make measures to prevent the killing and abandonment of greyhounds that have been bred for racing.
The traffic stopped and heads turned as the police led the march along Park Lane and into Hyde Park where a rally took place at Speakers’ Corner. Issues were highlighted by guest speakers, including actress and Greyhounds UK campaigner Annette Crosbie, greyhound poet John Ratcliffe, and animal welfare campaigner John Curtin.
Recent exposure from The Sunday Times showed that David Smith of Seaham, County Durham was found by an undercover reporter to be culling greyhounds by shooting them with a bolt-gun for £10 and burying them on his land. It is estimated Smith killed at least 10,000 racing greyhounds by this method.
Leigh Animal Sanctuary near Manchester was found by a further investigation to be disposing of greyhounds by allowing employees to inject racing greyhounds in the chest. They charged £35 for this service.
The greyhound racing industry has always denied that former racing dogs were disposed of in this way.
March for Greyhounds Spokesperson, Anne Hewson said: ‘What has been uncovered at both County Durham and Leigh Animal Sanctuary is unacceptable. This is no way to dispose of healthy dogs, some aged just two or three years old. The slaughter has to stop…
‘We are supposedly a dog loving nation – why are we tolerating the mass-destruction of these lovely dogs?
‘There are tens of thousands of greyhounds bred each year in the UK and Ireland for use in this ‘sport’. These dogs are massively over-bred and there is no or little protection for the ones who either don’t race or once they are finished racing.
‘The National Greyhound Racing Club state in their rules that every attempt must be made to find suitable arrangements for greyhounds upon ‘retirement’ and having a dog put to sleep by a qualified veterinarian if there are no alternatives. That the NGRC admit that they have no knowledge of the number of dogs involved and what happens too them and the existence of what has happened at County Durham and Leigh proves this rule simply does not work.
‘There is no provision in the Animal Welfare Bill regarding the ‘sport’ of greyhound racing therefore there is little protection for the dogs themselves. This is wrong.
‘Greyhounds are very placid dogs and make good pets and we would ask people to please consider rehoming one of these dogs.’
OUR DOGS will be publishing an in-depth feature on the whole Greyhound racing and welfare issue in a subsequent issue, in which both sides of the debate, including welfare campaigners and the greyhound racing industry will be aired.
More information on the march can be found on the website: http://www.marchforgreyhounds.co.uk/