1. Home
  2. /

  3. /

    Enhancing welfare and integrity measures in greyhound racing to appeal to a broader base of supporters
Enhancing welfare and integrity measures in greyhound racing to appeal to a broader base of supporters
Atmosphere at the Greyhound Derby. Source: Midjourney

Enhancing welfare and integrity measures in greyhound racing to appeal to a broader base of supporters

In its efforts to engage new fans, the industry is actively working to challenge existing perceptions.

Greyhound racing is often perceived as an outdated and declining sport due to changing perspectives on animal rights. The closure of many greyhound tracks across the country has contributed to this decline. However, the industry is actively challenging these perceptions and striving to make itself more appealing to sceptics, although it acknowledges that this process is still a work in progress.

The Greyhound Derby, a prominent event in the greyhound racing calendar, recently relocated to Nottingham after its previous venues, Wimbledon and Towcester, shut down. Despite the significant amount of money involved and a £100,000 prize for the winner, the event is still growing. Surprisingly, many people in Nottingham are unaware that there is a Greyhound stadium in the city's sporting quarter. Nevertheless, the atmosphere during the races indicates the immense passion that many people have for the sport. From trainers and owners to veterinarians, stewards, and course management, there is a deep affection for both the sport and the dogs involved. It is evident that greyhound racing has substantial support, although the challenge lies in increasing its popularity.

Greyhound dog with its vet . Source: Midjourney
Greyhound dog with its vet. Source: Midjourney

Efforts of GBGB

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) is working tirelessly to address this challenge. In 2018, the board formulated an eight-point plan focused on greyhound welfare, integrity, funding, and promotion with the aim of enhancing the sport's appeal. A year later, progress towards these objectives is evident, and the efforts being made behind the scenes at Nottingham to attract more bettors are apparent.

To minimise the risk of injuries on the track, each dog is examined by a veterinarian three times on race nights. Upon arrival at the track, the dogs undergo assessments to ensure their vaccinations are up to date and their weight is within a one-kilogram range of their previous race. Independent anti-doping testers monitor the kennels, and over 15,000 samples were taken across licensed tracks between October 2017 and September 2018. Positive samples are typically attributed to food contamination. The GBGB emphasises the importance of maintaining the integrity of the sport and regularly publishes findings from disciplinary hearings to remind those involved of the consequences of any misconduct.

The GBGB acknowledges that there is still work to be done. In 2018, 324 greyhounds were euthanised because they couldn't find homes or due to the high cost of medical treatment, which the GBGB considers "avoidable and unnecessary deaths." The sport is collaborating closely with charities that rehome retired racing dogs to reduce this number to zero. Additionally, the Injury Recovery Scheme provides financial support to owners and trainers whose dogs sustain career-ending injuries at GBGB-licensed racecourses. The GBGB's Veterinary Director, Dr Simon Gower, emphasises the need for responsible greyhound ownership and aims to eliminate the euthanasia of greyhounds for economic reasons.

Greyhound racing. Source: Midjourney
Greyhound racing. Source: Midjourney

Racecourses, including Nottingham, allocate sponsorship space to charities involved in greyhound retirement and invite representatives to bring retired dogs to the track, raising funds for charitable causes.

The industry recognises the need for continued development to regain its appeal among a wider and sceptical community. However, one cannot doubt the love and respect that these animals receive from everyone associated with the sport during every race night.

Get the latest news to your inbox.

Subscribe to the newsletter

We value your privacy and promise not to distribute your email to third parties.