Friday, 2 October 2009

Greyhound Campaign update: proposed welfare regulations a 'whitewash'

In July, I blogged about Dogs Trust's Greyhound campaign, which asked everyone to urge the Government to go further in protecting the welfare of these beautiful dogs from cradle to grave. A consultation on the proposed regulations garnered critical responses from dog and animal welfare groups and scores of letters were written to MPs by supporters. Today the Government has released the proposed regulations - and they're a disappointment. Here's our statement:

After 15 years of promises and talks, today’s release of the Government’s proposed Regulations into Greyhound Racing have been branded a whitewash by Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity.

The charity is appalled that the Government has decided to restrict Greyhound welfare provisions to just trackside activity – thereby condemning thousands of dogs to a life of misery and in some cases an early death. Out of the 159 responses to the consultation statement: ‘do you agree that the licensing conditions should only apply where greyhounds are being raced or trialled’, 141 respondents disagreed.

The proposed Regulations do not extend to training or breeding kennels despite the fact this is where racing Greyhounds spend 90 per cent of their lives. These out of sight premises will continue to elude welfare scrutiny.

A Greyhound’s racing career spans just three to four years out of a life expectancy of upwards of twelve years. The proposed Regulations will have no significant impact on the fate of retired racing greyhounds or the young dogs who never reach the track.

For many years Dogs Trust has campaigned and provided clear guidance to the Government about the need for effective legislation to protect Greyhounds from cradle to grave. Ultimately this means statutory regulation of the industry and the creation of one centralised database upon which all dogs bred for the sport can be tracked. The proposed Regulations fail to deliver these methods of protection.

Clarissa Baldwin, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust and Chairman of the Greyhound Forum comments:

“Successive Ministers have pledged their support to safeguarding the welfare of racing Greyhounds. Successive Ministers have let these animals down. Today’s Regulations represent a missed opportunity to improve the lives of thousands of dogs and represent the views of Parliamentarians, welfare groups and members of the general public. Dogs Trust is calling for the Government to understand the strength of public feeling about this issue and extend these regulations immediately.”
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