4 November 2021

At Hope Rescue we warmly welcome today’s publication of Welsh Government’s Animal Welfare Plan for Wales 2021-26. However, we urge dog lovers to write to their local Member of the Senedd asking them to support our call for a ban on greyhound racing in Wales, rather than regulation.

The Welfare Plan outlines Welsh Government’s commitment to improvements in a few policy areas Hope Rescue has campaigned for, including the regulation of animal welfare establishments, improved microchipping regulations and more resources for Local Authority enforcement.

Hope Rescue is pleased to see a commitment to extending the provisions of the proposed Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill to Wales, particularly in respect of the importation of puppies and mutilated dogs, including those with cropped ears. As well as our public campaign work, we have engaged with Welsh Government on these important issues by responding to various consultations and taking an active role on relevant working groups through its membership of the Animal Welfare Network for Wales. 

There is still a lot of work to do, but we are greatly encouraged by the progress and commitment to animal welfare set out in the plan and looks forward to working with Welsh Government on its implementation. 

However, the plan includes reference to the potential licensing of greyhound racing, possibly under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Wales) (Regulations) 2021. This is a policy area where Hope Rescue fundamentally disagrees and is urging Welsh Government to ban greyhound racing in Wales, rather than regulate it. A recent petition to the Senedd set up by the charity has already attracted almost 20,000 signatures and will be considered for a debate. 

Regulation will leave the door open for the one remaining greyhound track to implement the proposal set out on Valley Greyhounds' website to sell the track to the owner and promoter of Harlow Greyhound Stadium. According to the news article on the website, it is the promoter’s intention to register the track as a Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) licensed track greatly intensifying the scale of use and numbers of greyhounds racing in Wales. 

“We strongly believe that greyhound racing is an inherently cruel sport. Every year thousands of greyhounds suffer catastrophic injuries or are killed while racing, including at our local track in Ystrad Mynach. The industry also creates thousands of surplus dogs annually that then need rescuing by overstretched animal welfare organisations. One example is a greyhound called Sienna, that badly broke her leg racing at Valleys track and needed to have it amputated.”

Sienna (above) is pictured receiving veterinary treatment after breaking her leg racing at Valleys track. 

“The plan highlights the principle enshrined in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and Welsh Government are keen to promote this. A ban on greyhound racing is no better example of how this principle can be enshrined in animal welfare legislation in Wales. Regulation will not prevent dogs like Sienna from getting injured, it will not prevent them from dying and it won’t prevent them from needing to be rescued by overstretched animal welfare organisations. A ban is the only way to truly protect greyhounds in Wales and stop plans to intensify it. Greyhounds deserve better.”

We are urging dog lovers to write to their local Member of the Senedd, asking them to support its campaign to ban greyhound racing in Wales.

To join Hope Rescue and almost 20,000 dog lovers in supporting a ban on greyhound racing in Wales, you can sign the petition here