Greyhounds are widely regarded as affectionate and sensitive couch potatoes by those who have welcomed a rescued greyhound into their families. They are an incredibly loving breed, who also enjoy sleeping for up to 18 hours (yes, 18!) a day.

Sadly, these sensitive dogs are exploited by the greyhound racing industry. An industry that is rife with welfare issues such as injuries, deaths, doping and inadequate living conditions.

This why greyhound racing must be phased out.

Add your name to the open letter

Injuries & deaths

Illustration of greyhound with injured paw.

Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s (GBGB) own injury and retirement data revealed that a shocking 22,284 injuries were recorded and 2,718 greyhounds died between 2018-2022.

Of the 2,718 dogs that died, 675 of those were destroyed not for medical reasons, but because their treatment was deemed too expensive, they were homeless, designated ‘unsuitable for homing’, or, effectively, surplus to requirements.

In 2018, the GBGB made its commitment to ‘further protect and promote welfare’. Despite this, in all years since, except 2020 when tracks were temporarily shut due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the injury rate has been higher.

These stats only include licensed tracks. Unlicensed greyhound racing tracks, like the last remaining stadium in Scotland- Thornton Stadium- have no obligation to report injury and death stats. This is incredibly worrying, as we do not have any stats to reflect the injuries and deaths related to this track.

Doping

GBGB’s own records show that dogs in the racing industry have been doped with performance-enhancing drugs, including class A substances.

This includes cases at Glasgow’s former Shawfield Stadium, where 13 dogs were found with cocaine in their system between 2018-2019. It is important to note that drug testing only occurred in less than 2% of dogs at Shawfield Stadium.

Research has shown that the adverse effects of cocaine in dogs include neurological and muscular abnormalities, increased heart rate, convulsions/seizures, weakness, vomiting and lethargy.

Inadequate kennel conditions

Illustration of greyhound in kennel

Racing dogs reportedly spend 95% of their time in kennels with little social contact.

Many greyhounds used by the racing industry are kept in kennels, in conditions which do not allow the dogs to thrive. In the worst instances, dogs can live in dank, dirty kennels, suffer from untreated wounds and injuries, receive inadequate veterinary care, and be shouted at or roughly treated.

Additionally, a study into greyhound welfare conducted by the University of Bristol in 2012 found that more than 95% of greyhounds who are kept with another dog are constantly muzzled- a practice that is highly distressing for them.

Just last month, it was widely reported that a GBGB trainer of 17 years left greyhounds to starve in dirty kennels surrounded by their own faeces and, in at least one case, the dead bodies of their kennel mate. Three dogs had to be euthanised and one died on her way to the vet.

Overbreeding

Thousands of puppies are bred to supply a racing pool across the UK. However, not all of these dogs will make the racing grade and thus some will be superfluous to the needs of the industry.

Very worryingly, some greyhound puppies are unaccounted for between birth and racing registrations- sometimes referred to the industry as ‘wastage’.

The high number of greyhounds also needing to be rehomed - whether those that are no longer profitable to their ‘trainers’ or the dogs that don’t ‘make the cut’- puts a great deal of pressure onto rehoming organisations.

Made to run during high/low temperatures

illustration of greyhound running in heatwave

Greyhounds, because of their lack of fat and hair, do not have the insulation of many other dog breeds and as a result can overheat much quicker.

Despite this, greyhounds were made to run during the 2022 heatwave, where temperatures reached 30°C+ in some parts of the UK.

This came at a time when those with dogs were strongly advised to keep their dogs indoors to avoid heatstroke and potentially lethal consequences.

Long-term health issues

Sadly, there are also many stories of greyhounds who have been left long-term health issues due to their time kept as racing greyhounds. Just last month we covered the case of Kaas, whose GBGB trainer tried to have her killed at just two years old, after he was disqualified for doping.

Sasha, Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation’s cover girl, was left to suffer in a kennel with a broken leg for two days before she was taken to a vet. Thankfully, the vet convinced Sasha’s trainer to surrender her, rather than have her killed, and contacted a local rehoming charity who rehomed Sasha.

Put dog racing out of its misery

Greyhound racing is on its last legs and only one, unregulated, track remains in Scotland.

The majority of Scots (60%) want to see the Scottish Government take action to end dog racing. The Scottish Animal Welfare Commission, in its report on the welfare of greyhounds used in racing in Scotland also called an end to greyhound racing in Scotland desirable.

However, the Scottish Government is considering licensing greyhound racing, instead of introducing a phase out. Licensing can not combat the inherent welfare issues of greyhound racing, as the recorded injuries and deaths on licensed GBGB racing tracks reveal. Our supporter guide will aid you in responding to the consultation calling for a phase out to greyhound racing as opposed to licensing this cruel practice.

Respond to the consultation

As a member of the Unbound the Greyhound coalition, we are calling on you to sign our open letter to the Scottish Government, calling for a phase out to dog racing.

Add your name to the open letter

We are delighted to have gathered more than 14,000 signatures in just over 7 weeks! It just goes to show how strongly the public support an end to this cruel industry.

An end to greyhound racing in Scotland is within a paw’s reach!