Nine animal welfare groups have joined forces to call on the Scottish Government to Unbound the Greyhound and end greyhound racing in Scotland.

Poster for campaign to end greyhound racing in Scotland

The campaign calls for a phase out approach to ensure the welfare of the dogs currently being used by the industry, and asks supporters to sign the open letter addressed to the Scottish Government. Greyhounds are a sensitive and lazy breed loved by many who have them as companions.

Sign the open letter

Groups in the coalition

The coalition consists of nine animal protection organisations including campaigning charities,rehoming centres, grassroots groups, and an all-party parliamentary group: OneKind, All-Party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG), Animal Concern, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, GREY2K USA Worldwide, Hope Rescue, League Against Cruel Sports Scotland, Say No to Greyhound Racing in Scotland, and Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation (SAGE).

The groups, from those based across Scotland, England and Wales, to the international non-profit GREY2K USA Worldwide, are all committed to ensuring an end to this cruel industry in Scotland.

Current situation in Scotland

The coalition comes as the Scottish Government considers what action to take on greyhound racing and a committee in Parliament conducts an inquiry on the issue, following a petition lodged by coalition member SAGE.

Just one dog racing track remains in Scotland, with Shawfield in Glasgow not re-opening it’s doors following the 2020 lockdown and plans to build a track at Wallyford scrapped, partly due to an ‘increasingly negative attitude’ towards greyhound racing amongst the public and politicians.

Welfare issues

The dog racing industry is rife with welfare issues and has no place in a modern Scotland.

Injuries, deaths and ‘surplus’ dogs

Greyhound racing

Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s (GBGB) injury and retirement data reveals that 2,412 greyhounds died in total, and 17,930 were injured between 2018-2021- this is absolutely appalling. Of the 2,412 dogs that died, 645 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.

Inadequate kennel conditions

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.

Evidence of doping

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

Long-term impact

When rescued, greyhounds can be overwhelmed by the sounds, smells, people, and other animals living in the world outside of the racing industry. Many will not have been adequately socialised and as a result may be nervous around other dogs. Separation anxiety can be commonplace at first, and for some is lifelong, with the dogs terrified to be left alone. Poor dental hygiene is also common in dogs rescued from the industry, with some dogs being left with no teeth at all.

Sign the open letter

Scotland’s last remaining track

There is only one greyhound racing track remaining in Scotland - the unlicensed Thornton Stadium in Fife. As an unlicensed track, it is completely unregulated, which means there is no requirement to keep any records. So, while we know that a shocking 2,412 deaths and 17,930 injuries were recorded across GBGB tracks between 2018-2021, we have absolutely no way of knowing injury and death figures for the Thornton track.

While it is often referred to as a ‘hobby’ track by those involved with the stadium, races have been cancelled at this track when a bookmaker is unable to attend, suggesting that it is more than a ‘hobby track’.

Further, the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) in it’s report on the welfare of greyhounds used in racing in Scotland exhibited images requested from those who race their dogs at Thornton, showing no enrichment for the dogs and inadequate bedding in kennels.

Overwhelming public support for an end to greyhound racing

Recent polling by coalition member GREY2K USA Worldwide shows that the majority of Scots (60%) are in favour of a phase out to greyhound racing.

91.7% of those who responded to the Rural Affairs and Island Committee’s (RAI) call to views on Petition PE1758: End Greyhound Racing in Scotland also responded in favour of a ban on greyhound racing in Scotland. This was the 5th most signed petition in the history of the Scottish Parliament.

It is clear that the Scottish public do not support this cruel industry.

But it is not just the general public:, Dogs Trust, Scottish SPCA and RSPCA recently assembled to give evidence to RAI, with all the groups expressing their support for a phase out of greyhound racing in Scotland. The Scottish Animal Welfare Commission also concluded in its report that the end to organised greyhound racing in Scotland would be ‘desirable’.

The need for a phase out

While it could be argued that Scotland’s greyhound racing industry is already on its last legs, it is imperative that the Scottish Government commits to a phase out of greyhound racing to ensure that the industry isn’t re-established further down the line.

Scotland must Unbound the Greyhound.