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    What is the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, and how does it operate?
What is the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, and how does it operate?
Photo of greyhound racing with Greyhound Board of Great Britain logo on it. Source: YouTube

What is the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, and how does it operate?

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) is the recognised authority overseeing licenced greyhound racing events throughout Great Britain. The jurisdiction does not cover tracks that are independent or located in Northern Ireland.

Creating and Managing

The GBGB was founded in 2009 as a self-regulatory organisation. It resulted from the merger of the British Greyhound Racing Board and the National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC).

The GBGB reports to two central departments:

  • The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) takes charge of the cultural, media, and digital industries, making sure they are advantageous and available to everyone.
  • The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is responsible for ensuring a vibrant and diverse natural environment both in the UK and globally. Their mission is to promote excellence in the food and farming sector and support the growth of a prosperous rural economy.

Enhancing Regulations for the Well-being of Greyhounds

Every greyhound racing venue and all individuals involved in the registered sector must adhere to the GBGB's Rules of Racing and the Directions of the Stipendiary Stewards.

This collection of rules encompasses:

  • Guidelines for Racing: These are regulations and standards implemented by GBGB to promote fair and ethical racing practices.
  • The Stipendiary Stewards are responsible for setting and strengthening the guidelines to ensure the well-being of greyhounds at the racecourses.
  • Stewards' Inquiries are conducted at both local and GBGB headquarters in London to take disciplinary action against any party found to have violated the established rules.
Greyhound dog with medical mask. Source: Midjourney
Greyhound dog with medical mask. Source: Midjourney

The Impact and Response to COVID-19

On 24 March 2020, the GBGB made the unprecedented decision to suspend greyhound racing within the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following that, the board declared financial assistance for all retired and currently competing greyhounds in the registered industry.

In the same year, they unveiled a recovery plan consisting of five steps aimed at gradually restarting racing events while adhering to the limitations imposed by COVID-19.

Accreditation and Auditing

GBGB's operational credibility is built upon two critical factors:

  • The GBGB takes pride in its independent accreditation by UKAS, which requires regular audits of its systems and procedures to ensure their quality and compliance. This highlights a dedication to maintaining exceptional levels of professionalism.
  • Annual Independent Audit: Furthermore, conducting a yearly independent examination of GBGB's accounts offers additional confidence to both the general public and the British Greyhound Racing Fund, ensuring financial transparency and integrity.

Greyhound Welfare

Over the past few years, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has shown a solid dedication to promoting the well-being of greyhounds, as evidenced by the release of its injury and retirement data in 2017.

Enhancing Interaction with Organisations Focused on Animal Well-being

Animal welfare groups have long scrutinised the sport of greyhound racing. Due to the focus on maximising original content and incorporating a wide range of alternative terms, the GBGB has been actively involved in various welfare forums. It has developed strong professional connections with influential individuals and groups, including:

  • Dogs Trust: This well-known organisation is dedicated to the welfare and safeguarding of canines throughout the United Kingdom.
  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home: A long-standing pet rescue centre that specialises in providing a haven for dogs and cats in need of a home.

Furthermore, the GBGB consistently provides welfare reports to both the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the All-Party Parliamentary Greyhound Group, promoting transparency and accountability in greyhound welfare.

Nevertheless, in spite of these efforts, confident individuals who advocate for animal rights continue to express their opposition to the sport, citing concerns about the well-being of the animals involved.

RSPCA Stance and GBGB Reaction

In 2022, the RSPCA proposed a complete prohibition on greyhound racing, aiming to ensure the welfare of the animals involved. The phone call triggered an immediate response from GBGB's CEO, Mark Bird, who voiced his worry about the presence of animal rights extremists exerting power within animal welfare organisations.

Enhancing Regulatory Authority

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has the power to regulate anyone involved in greyhound racing within the registered sector.

Rules and Enforcement

Every person engaged in the registered sector must follow the GBGB Rules of Racing and the Directions of the Stewards, which cover:

Greyhound Welfare: Guidelines are established to ensure optimal kennel conditions, racecourse amenities, and the well-being of greyhounds after their racing careers.

Ensuring fairness and safety is the top priority in all aspects of the sport of racing.

The GBGB carries out Stewards' inquiries and takes disciplinary action against any party discovered to have violated the established regulations.

In 2022, the GBGB inspected trainer Rebecca Perkins' kennel and discovered violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which is worth mentioning. Following the report to the RSPCA, Perkins was subsequently sentenced to imprisonment and issued a permanent prohibition in 2023.

It is worth mentioning that the GBGB's regulatory authority only applies to individuals and greyhounds who are officially registered with the organisation. As a result, the board's jurisdiction does not extend to unregistered parties or activities related to Irish racing and breeding.

Oxford Stadium and the partnership with GBGB

Optimising Guidelines and Policies

Oxford Stadium collaborates closely with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) to ensure strict adherence to the Rules of Racing and Directions of the Stewards throughout greyhound racing events. The GBGB is responsible for overseeing the licensing and training of professionals, as well as monitoring track facilities and conditions. Additionally, the organisation ensures that greyhounds at the Oxford venue are treated ethically.

Inspections and Assessments

The GBGB conducts routine inspections at Oxford Stadium to assess safety measures, track quality, and compliance with animal welfare guidelines. These evaluations strive to create a competitive atmosphere that emphasises the health and security of the greyhounds involved in the races.

Dog caring. Source: Blue Veterinary
Dog caring. Source: Blue Veterinary

Programmes for the Care and Rehoming of Retired Greyhounds

Oxford Stadium partners with the GBGB to offer assistance and aid for retired greyhounds. They collaborate to guarantee effective rehoming initiatives and uphold welfare programmes to provide retired greyhounds with a high standard of living following their racing careers.

Shared Commitment to Greyhound Welfare

The collaboration between Oxford Stadium and the GBGB demonstrates a mutual dedication to the well-being of greyhounds, highlighting their joint efforts to maintain integrity and moral standards in the sport. This collective endeavour guarantees the quality of greyhound racing, and the level of care at Oxford Stadium remains outstanding, making a positive impact on the sport's standing.

Overall, the partnership between Oxford Stadium and the GBGB plays a crucial role in upholding the quality and credibility of greyhound racing competitions and promoting a secure, equitable, and honourable atmosphere for the greyhounds participating.

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