Greyhound industry figures reveal misery

| 19th June 2019
The New South Wales, Australia, ban on grehound racing comes into effect in July 2017
Shocking new data prompts renewed calls for an end to greyhound racing in the UK.


The shocking scale of greyhound deaths in the racing industry has been revealed by new figures released this week.

Animal welfare charities the League Against Cruel Sports and Greyt Exploitations are renewing their calls for an end to greyhound racing in the UK as a result.

The figures, released by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, show a total of 932 racing greyhounds died or were destroyed last year - and of those a total of 242 died or were put down at the racetrack.

Essentially unsafe

The figures also report 4,963 injuries were sustained by racing greyhounds last year.

Chris Luffingham, director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “With approximately 14,000 greyhounds racing every year, these figures show the proportion dying or suffering injuries is appallingly high.

“Greyhound racing is essentially unsafe and cannot be reformed – it needs to be phased out and the greyhounds found good homes where they can live long and healthy lives.”

Many greyhounds were killed for ‘economic reasons’, including 175 destroyed because of high treatment costs, and 144 that were labelled as having ‘no viable option’ away from the racecourse.

The figures show how and why the greyhound died or were put down: 242 euthanised at track side on ‘humane grounds’; 324 for which treatment was deemed too expensive, there was ‘no viable option’ away from the racecourse or no home was found; 190 were killed due to being ‘unsuitable for homing’; 72 died from ‘sudden death’.

Welfare commitments

The 932 greyhounds that were destroyed or died make up 12.1 percent of the greyhounds leaving the industry last year.

Chris added: Injuries have increased since the industry first published injury and retirement data last year – greyhounds continue to suffer injuries in their thousands despite repeated promises by the industry to act.

“The time for minor reform has long since passed, as the many hundreds of dogs dying at the hands of the industry illustrates.”

Greyhounds leave the industry aged between two and three years old so should have a long life ahead of them.

Trudy Baker, coordinator of Greyt Exploitations, said: “No amount of ineffective ‘window dressing’ welfare commitments will address the suffering and deaths of thousands of dogs racing on dangerously configured tracks.”

Commercial environment

Trudy also questioned the GBGB’s definition of retirement for the greyhounds: “The truth is hundreds of dogs listed as ‘retired’ by the GBGB still remain in a commercial environment.

"This can mean they are confined to trainers’ kennels that have failed to comply with an agreed British Standard Institute specification - either used for breeding, forced to routinely donate blood or simply awaiting rehoming.

"Hundreds more are sold or given away again for breeding, to be raced abroad or on independent tracks, or used for research and dissection.”

This Article 

This article is based on a press release from the League Against Cruel Sports. 

Help us keep The Ecologist working for the planet

The Ecologist website is a free service, published by The Resurgence Trust, a UK-based educational charity. We work hard - with a small budget and tiny editorial team - to bring you the wide-ranging, independent journalism we know you value and enjoy, but we need your help. Please make a donation to support The Ecologist platform. Thank you!

Donate to us here