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Greyhound racing ban wins Senedd Committee backing

15 Dec 2022 4 minute read
Evening racing at the Valley Greyhound Stadium. Photo by Diapers1927 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

A campaign to end greyhound racing in Wales has won the support of Members of the Senedd, as calls grow for Wales to take the lead over other countries in the UK.

The Hope Rescue charity presented its petition of 35,101 signatures to the Senedd as part of a growing movement calling for a UK-wide ban of the sport.

In a report published today (Thursday 15 December) the majority of the Senedd’s Petitions Committee gave its support to a phased ban of greyhound racing in Wales, along with a further four recommendations for the Welsh Government on the future of the sport in Wales.

The Committee agree that the Welsh Government should prioritise steps to improve welfare standards for the whole life of the animals – as pups, racers and in retirement – whatever the future holds for the sport.

This would improve conditions for dogs bred here for racing as well as those travelling through the country to compete elsewhere.

Welfare

An outright ban on greyhound racing in Wales was supported by four out of five Committee Members, but improving welfare was the priority for everyone, Committee Chair, Jack Sargeant MS said.

“After considering the evidence we gathered from speaking to animal charities and the greyhound racing industry, including the steps already taken and planned to improve animal welfare, the majority conclusion of the Committee is to support a ban on greyhound racing,” Mr Sargeant said.

“Our number one priority has been the wellbeing of greyhounds and that was always our first reference point as we explored the issues raised by Hope Rescue in their petition. We are very grateful to everyone who contributed to our work and in particular to the petitioners who worked to get such a large number of signatures.

“While one Member could not support a ban, we are all agreed that the Welsh Government should consider all options when consulting on future arrangements, to ensure that the welfare of greyhounds is paramount – at all stages of their lives.”

‘Wedge’

A spokesperson for the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) said that they were “disappointed” that four members of the Petitions Committee were in favour of a ban on greyhound racing in Wales.
“As their report makes very clear in its recommendations, however, there are a number of strong alternatives which would allow the sport to continue in a fully regulated environment thus protecting the welfare of dogs, the jobs and livelihoods of those involved in the sport and the revenue contribution the sport makes to the economy. Adopting these would align Wales with the rest of the country,” they said.
“The Petitions Committee’s recommendation that the Welsh Government should consider banning all sport with animals puts horse racing, fishing, dog agility and even pigeon racing on notice that they are next.
“We have always said that calls for a ban on greyhound racing are the thin end of the wedge and this recommendation proves that one hundred per cent.”

Dangerous

Vanessa Waddon, Senior Head of Operations at Hope Rescue added: “At Hope Rescue we have witnessed first-hand just how dangerous greyhound racing is, with dogs routinely injured or even killed. The industry also deliberately creates thousands of surplus dogs once they finish racing and expect animal welfare organisations to rescue their “wastage”.

“We are delighted that the Petitions Committee agrees with us that greyhound racing has no place in a compassionate Wales that cares about animal welfare.

“The Petitions Committee reports sends a clear message to Welsh Government – and the greyhound racing industry – that it’s time to cut the chase and phase out greyhound racing in Wales.”

Joan and Alex from Almost Home Dog Rescue with Jack Sargeant MS, Chair, Senedd Petitions Committee and dogs Sophie and Seb.

Wales is one of only 10 countries in the world where commercial greyhound racing still takes place legally.

Only one greyhound racing track currently operates in Wales – The Valley Greyhound Stadium in Ystrad Mynach – and races occur there once a week.

Hope Rescue is a charity working across six local authorities in south Wales. The charity take in, take care and rehome stray, abandoned and unwanted dogs including retired and injured animals from the greyhound racing industry.

The Senedd Petition calling for a ban on greyhound racing in Wales collected a total of 35,101 signatures from all corners of the world – 18,707 of these were from Wales.


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Glen
Glen
1 month ago

Why are we allowing politically motivated people from outside to shape government policy for us in Wales?

Does any other country do this?

Last edited 1 month ago by Glen
Cynan again
Cynan again
1 month ago

Good. The racing itself is not inherently cruel. But everything else around it is pretty disgusting unless things have changed drastically in the last 10 years

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
1 month ago

Only 18,707 supporters of this Petition were living in Wales, which is little more than half of all who signed in support of a ban. The remainder have no right to representation in Wales. The Senedd take a very strange view of Welsh democracy, IMHO. Plans to improve animal welfare within the industry were also given scant consideration. So, instead of legislating for effective humane standards with licensing control throughout the Greyhound racing industry in Wales, the Senedd indulges in it’s usual high-handed posturing and virtue-signalling, with an outright ban! Never mind ruining the livelihood of responsible dog owners and… Read more »

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