New industry stats out today shown that a shocking number of dogs are still dying or being seriously injured while participating in greyhound racing.

Stats released by GBGB, the organisation responsible for licencing greyhound tracks in the UK, show that 244 dogs died or were put to sleep due to their participation in greyhound racing over the last year, and there were 4,354 injuries. This is on top of the more than 2000 dogs that have died or have been put to sleep over the previous four years.

There are two additional greyhound tracks in Great Britain that aren’t licenced under GBGB which means the number of dogs killed, put to sleep or injured is likely to be higher. These tracks are not required to publish their death and injury data.

This comes less than a year after three of the UKs largest animal welfare charities – Dogs Trust, RSPCA and Blue Cross – announced their joint call for greyhound racing to come to an end as soon as possible to put a stop to the unnecessary and completely preventable deaths greyhounds. This echoes the calls of other welfare organisations, including Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales.

Working together as the Cut the Chase Coalition, Dogs Trust, the RSPCA, Blue Cross, Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales have worked with the greyhound racing industry for many years to try to improve conditions for the dogs involved in the sport. While this has led to some improvements, there are still significant welfare issues for racing greyhounds which have not been resolved and cannot be resolved.  

The Cut the Chase Coalition believes greyhound racing is inherently dangerous for the dogs involved as running at speed around oval tracks causes significant injury to many dogs, and in some cases the injuries are so severe that it is necessary to euthanise the dog.

Further to this, the coalition has concerns at every stage of a racing greyhound’s life including issues around inadequate welfare standards in kennelling and transporting the dogs. Some of the dogs used in racing are kept in poor, barren conditions, with little if any enrichment and fed a poor diet. The reviews also highlighted concerns around the general health of the dogs including the number and severity of injuries sustained during racing.  

There are also serious issues around the racing of greyhounds in extreme weather and the number of puppies that are unaccounted for between birth and racing registrations, so often referred to by the sector as the "wastage". 

Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Blue Cross, Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales want to see an end to greyhound racing as soon as possible.

In response to the publication of this new data, Vanessa Waddon, Senior Head of Operations at Hope Rescue, says,

“Whilst the greyhound racing industry are celebrating that the number of deaths and injuries have been reduced from last year, most dog lovers would find these statistics truly shocking and certainly nothing to celebrate. These dogs died or were injured for "sport" & entertainment and show that greyhound racing is inherently unsafe, putting dogs at risk of injury or death every time they race. Regulation doesn’t work, and the only way to truly protect greyhounds is to put an end greyhound racing once and for all.”