This afternoon, campaigners from the Unbound the Greyhound coalition delivered their open letter, calling for a phase out to dog racing in Scotland, to the Scottish Government.  

22,655 people signed the coalition’s open letter, including celebrities such as TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham, actor Peter Egan, and historian and broadcaster, David Olusoga. 

MSPs joined the charities, and greyhounds rescued from the racing industry, outside Parliament in support. 

The letter hand-in comes just weeks after Scottish Greens MSP, Mark Ruskell, launched the consultation for his proposed Bill to ban greyhound racing, the Proposed Prohibition of Greyhound Racing (Scotland) Bill. The coalition is very supportive of this Bill. 

On the open letter, a spokesperson for the coalition, Eve Massie Bishop, said: 

There has been a real shift in attitudes towards dog racing in recent years. Not only have 22,655 people added their name to our letter to the Scottish Government to phase out greyhound racing in Scotland, but polling carried out by Panelbase has also found that six in ten Scots think the Scottish Parliament should vote to phase out greyhound racing. A 2019 petition to ban greyhound racing, from coalition member Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation, is also the most signed petition in Scottish parliamentary history

Our campaign has attracted the support of animal lovers from across the world, including the US, Australia, Japan, France, and Spain. All eyes are now on the Scottish Parliament, which can show leadership and compassion and take steps to phase out this dying industry”.

2,718 greyhounds died and there were 2,284 total injuries recorded at the hands of the industry between 2018-2022.  

Rescue greyhound, Sasha, who was at the open letter hand-in, was injured 8 years ago and was almost killed as a result. Sasha broke her leg during a race at the former Armadale Stadium, in West Lothian, and was left in her kennel without treatment for days. When her owner finally did take her to the vet, he wanted her to be put down, despite her injury being treatable. Thankfully, the vet convinced Sasha’s owner to surrender her instead. 

The coalition is very supportive of Mark Ruskell MSP’s Proposed Prohibition of Greyhound Racing (Scotland) Bill, stating: 

The Scottish Government’s proposals to license greyhound racing simply won’t protect these dogs. The Scottish public know this. In response to the Government's recent consultation on its licensing proposals, most respondents responded instead calling for a phase out of greyhound racing

Mr Ruskell has recognised that greyhound racing carries inherent welfare risks and that only a ban on this outdated ‘sport’ will protect these loving, affectionate dogs. We are grateful for Mr Ruskell’s commitment to ending this dying industry which survives only on the exploitation of gentle dogs. He has our absolute support”.

Mark Ruskell MSP commented: 

Greyhound racing is a cruel gambling-led sport. There is nothing safe about forcing dogs to run around an oval track at 40 mph. It is wrong, and it must be stopped.  

The industry has shown that it cannot be trusted to regulate itself, with hundreds of greyhounds dying or being injured every year.  

Animal welfare organisations are clear - the inherent risks of greyhound racing mean that the welfare of these beautiful dogs can only be truly protected by banning racing for good. And that is exactly what my proposed Bill intends to do

Thanks to the Unbound the Greyhound coalition, we know that the public also wants to see our four-legged friends protected too. An incredible 22,655 people have signed the coalition’s open letter calling for an end to greyhound racing in Scotland.  

Change is coming. So I hope that as many people as possible take part in my consultation and that we can use it to develop the most appropriate and robust legislation possible and deliver an end to this abusive and badly-dated practice”.

Notes to Editor 

  1. For media enquiries please contact Bob Elliot at: [email protected] or 07444 560657
  2. The coalition includes OneKind, GREY2K USA Worldwide, Say No To Greyhound Racing in Scotland, Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation (SAGE), the League Against Cruel Sports, Hope Rescue, the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, All-Party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG) and Animal Concern.    
  3. The coalition’s open letter to the Scottish Government can be viewed here
  4. See Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation’s (SAGE) petition to ban greyhound racing here
  5. The Scottish Government’s Consultation on the Licensing of Activities Involving Animals sought views on proposals to extend the 2021 statutory animal licensing framework to include greyhound racing. Read OneKind’s summary here