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RSPCA hails ‘huge moment’ as Welsh Government backs phasing out of greyhound racing

16 Feb 2023 5 minute read
Senedd Members have backed a report to phase out greyhound racing in Wales

The RSPCA has hailed a consultation by the Welsh Government to phase out greyhound racing in Wales as a ‘huge moment’ for dog welfare.

The Minister for Rural Affairs told Senedd members on Tuesday that she had responded to a recent Petitions Committee report, which saw a majority of Members back phasing out the sport in Wales.

The Minister confirmed she has accepted, or accepted in principle, all recommendations from the Committee – bar one.

Recommendations supported by the Minister included “that Welsh Government action should include a phased ban on greyhound racing in Wales” – which would result in the sport no longer taking place in the country.

The announcement follows campaigning on the issue from the RSPCA – alongside Hope Rescue, Blue Cross, Dogs Trust and Greyhound Rescue Wales, who are all part of the ‘Cut the Chase’ campaign.

The RSPCA has hailed the new consultation.


Wales is one of only ten countries in the world – including all other UK nations – where commercial greyhound racing continues in 2023.

RSPCA welfare experts fear greyhounds are needlessly placed at serious risk of painful injuries and death when competing in organised greyhound racing.

Dr Samantha Gaines, head of the RSPCA’s companion animals department said: “This is a huge moment for dog welfare – with the Welsh Government committing to a consultation on cutting the chase, by phasing out greyhound racing in Wales.

“With no vets at the track in Wales, and no requirement to publish statistics on injuries or deaths, it’s hard to gauge the true scale of welfare problems caused by greyhound racing in Wales.

“However, so long as this sport is allowed to continue, dogs are needlessly put at risk of serious injury and death all in the name of entertainment.”

A Senedd petition backing a ban was signed by more than 35,000 people, and led to the Petitions Committee publishing a report which called for the sport to be phased out – a recommendation supported by all but one Committee Member.

Samantha added: “While once a sport deeply ingrained in British culture, the greyhound racing industry has been declining.

“This is a positive reflection of a modern and conscientious society, and the support for this Senedd petition calling for a ban on greyhound racing demonstrates the groundswell of public support against this sport too.

“We’re proud to have worked closely with a number of other dog welfare charities to call for the sport to be brought to an end – and today’s announcement from the Minister marks a huge step forward to achieving that.


The RSPCA has said it will work closely with the Welsh Government and Members of the Senedd across the chamber to further highlight why a ban is needed.

In Wales, no specific statutory regulation or laws exist governing greyhound racing – unlike in England.

However, the RSPCA does not believe regulation will offer sufficient protections for greyhound welfare – and that phasing out the sport is the only solution.

Wales’ only remaining racing track is also not licensed – but RSPCA Cymru believes licensing does not solve the issue and doesn’t afford each and every dog with a good quality of life.

The charity recently undertook a comprehensive internal review – alongside the Dogs Trust – which demonstrated serious concerns at every stage of a racing greyhound’s life, including issues around inadequate welfare standards in kennelling and transporting the dogs.

A debate is due to take place on 8 March in the Senedd concerning the petition.

The report made five recommendations in total, including considering the welfare of dogs travelling through Wales on their way to races, and for the Welsh Government to work with the industry on how they can comply with any new rules or regulations.

The only recommendation in the Petitions Committee report not supported by the Minister was one stating that when “considering a ban on greyhound racing, the Welsh Government should also look at other sports where animals compete”.

Responding to the statement made by the Minister today, in relation to the recent Petitions Committee report, Mark Bird, CEO of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, said:

“We welcome the Minister’s statement, which outlines the importance of regulation of the greyhound racing industry and how this leads to improved welfare standards.

“We will continue to make the case for greyhound racing in Wales to be regulated and subject to the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010 through registration with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB).

“In doing so, we will ensure the welfare of greyhounds is maintained and is strengthened through our own long-term welfare strategy, A Good Life for Every Greyhound.

“All tracks licensed by GBGB must adhere to the regulator’s Rules of Racing which seek to uphold the very highest standards of greyhound welfare and integrity.

“There are over 200 Rules covering all aspects of how the sport is run and regulated including how greyhounds are cared for when they are at the track, at home in their trainer’s residential kennels, when being transported and into their retirement.

“Our licensed sport, which places the welfare of greyhounds as its highest priority, welcomes the opportunity to continue our engagement with the Welsh Government and Members of the Senedd on this issue.

“Any decision must be based on robust evidence and data, and we welcome the opportunity to continue to make the case for improved greyhound welfare through increased regulation.”

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Sue jonrs davies
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