We have joined forces with 8 other animal welfare organisations 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 dog racing industry is rife with welfare issues such as deaths, injuries and doping and has no place in a modern Scotland.

Our open letter to the Scottish Government to phase out dog racing secured an incredible 22,655 signatures. We are delighted that Mark Ruskell MSP has responded to the significant demand for an end to dog racing in Scotland and launched a consultation for the Proposed Prohibition of Greyhound Racing (Scotland) Bill, which would ban greyhound racing.

Please pledge your support for the main aims of the Bill. The number of pledges will be included in the consultation response of the 9 members of the Unbound the Greyhound campaign coalition.

Pledge your support for proposed ban

Dog racing in Scotland

Scotland's greyhound racing industry is on its last legs with just one unlicensed track remaining in Scotland.

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 its 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.

Welfare issues of greyhound racing

Greyhound racing

Greyhounds are widely regarded as affectionate and sensitive couch potatoes by those who have welcomed a rescued greyhound into their families.

Heartbreakingly, there are a wealth of welfare issues in the greyhound racing industry.

Injuries, deaths and ‘surplus’ dogs

Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s (GBGB) injury and retirement data reveals that 2,412 greyhounds died in total, and 17,930 injuries were recorded 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.

These dogs aren’t valued as sentient beings, but rather are regarded as commodities to make trainers money.

Inadequate kennel conditions

Illustration of greyhound in cage

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.

The dogs may also be constantly muzzled.

Doping

Illustration of a greyhound being injected with drugs

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 5 dogs were found with cocaine in their system. 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.

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.

The sheer number of greyhounds 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. Not all greyhounds will be passed to rehoming centres. Sadly, some may be killed instead.

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 to begin with. Separation anxiety can also be commonplace at first, 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.

Made to run during high/low temperatures

Greyhounds were forced to run during the 2022 heatwave, where temperatures reached 30°C+ in some parts of the UK, such as Brighton, which has a greyhound racing track.

This came at a time when those with dogs were strongly advised to keep their dogs indoors to avoid heatstroke and potentially lethal consequences, and to keep them cool with suggestions such as drawing the curtains, providing cooling mats and toys and blasting fans.

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.

Pledge your support for proposed ban

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 Group for 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.

Scots want to see an end to greyhound racing

Polling from coalition member, GREY2K USA Worldwide, reveals that majority of Scots (60%) want to see the Scottish Government to take action to put an end to greyhound racing in Scotland.

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 an end to organised greyhound racing in Scotland would be ‘desirable’.

The need for a phase out

While it could be questioned whether legislation is necessary to end the dog racing given that the 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.