Image: Sienna lost her leg after life-threatening injuries sustained at the Valley Greyhound Stadium in Ystrad Mynach

In response to a petition calling for an end to greyhound racing in Wales which attracted more than 35,000 signatures, the Senedd’s Petitions Committee has reached a majority conclusion that greyhound racing should come to an end in Wales.

This recommendation has been welcomed by the animal welfare organisations leading the call for an end to greyhound racing in Wales.

In response to the news, Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, says:

We’re really pleased to hear that the Senedd’s Petitions Committee supports our call for an end to greyhound racing in Wales. It’s clear from the sheer number of signatures on this petition that people across Wales agree with us that it is not acceptable that so many dogs die, are put to sleep, or are severely injured in the name of entertainment. 

We hope that the Welsh Government listens to the calls from animal welfare organisations and thousands of people across Wales and brings this industry to an end as quickly as possible. We remain committed to working collaboratively with the industry and other stakeholders to ensure the welfare of dogs is not compromised.”

Tim Doyle, CEO Greyhound Rescue Wales, echoed this:

With almost 30 years’ experience of dealing with the issues caused by greyhound racing, Greyhound Rescue Wales are delighted to see this decision from the Petitions Committee. This cruel and outdated industry has no place in a modern Wales, and a modern Wales should play no part in an industry that results in the premature deaths of far too many dogs every year. This decision sends a clear message that the welfare of these beautiful animals must not come second to the interests of a very small minority who wish to exploit them for financial gain.

This is also a view shared by Chris Burghes, CEO of Blue Cross: 

The petition committee’s recommendation for a ban on greyhound racing in Wales is a significant step towards the more compassionate future we need to protect dogs exploited for entertainment. Thousands of greyhounds are injured in the name of this ‘sport’ and we are committed to stopping their suffering. The time is now for the Welsh Government to act and take a strong stance against an industry that benefits from compromising welfare on a daily basis.

In response to the announcement, RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said: 

We’re delighted that the Senedd’s Petitions Committee is urging the Welsh Government to phase out greyhound racing in Wales.

This was an important inquiry, and an opportunity to highlight the many welfare issues associated with greyhound racing which exist from birth through to death.  

With no vet at the track, and no requirement to publish the number of injuries or deaths, it’s hard to estimate the true scale of welfare problems in Wales caused by greyhound racing – but so long as this sport continues, dogs are needlessly placed at serious risk of painful injuries and death.

Wales is one of only ten countries in the world where commercial greyhound racing remains. It’s time for Wales to cut the chase on greyhound racing, and consign this so-called sport to the history books.

Vanessa Waddon, Transformation Manager at Hope Rescue which cares for many greyhounds injured through racing and who tabled the petition with the Senedd’s Petitions Committee says:

At Hope Rescue we have witnessed first-hand just how dangerous greyhound racing is, with dogs routinely injured or even killed. The industry also deliberately creates thousands of surplus dogs once they finish racing and expect animal welfare organisations to rescue their “wastage”.   

We are delighted that the Petitions Committee agrees with us that greyhound racing has no place in a compassionate Wales that cares about animal welfare. Greyhound racing has lost its social licence to operate, and the public agrees that greyhounds are sentient beings who deserve full protection from harm. The Petitions Committee report sends a clear message to Welsh Government – and the greyhound racing industry – that it’s time to cut the chase and phase out greyhound racing in Wales.

In September this year, Dogs Trust, Blue Cross and RSPCA put out a joint call for greyhound racing to come to an end. The three charities have joined forces with Greyhound Rescue Wales and Hope Rescue who share the significant welfare concerns for racing greyhounds, at every stage of their lives, and want to see an end to the unnecessary and completely preventable deaths of hundreds of dogs every year.

Internal policy reviews conducted by Blue Cross, RSPCA and Dogs Trust earlier this year found disjointed and ineffective regulation within the greyhound sector, a lack of transparency regarding industry practices, and concerns around the enforcement of regulatory standards.

The charities have all worked with the greyhound industry for a number of years to try to improve the welfare of dogs involved in the sport. While this has led to some improvements, the charities believe there are still significant welfare issues for racing greyhounds which have not, and cannot, be resolved. Greyhound racing is inherently dangerous for the dogs involved. 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.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) governs licensed greyhound racing in Great Britain. Data from GBGB show that over 2,000 greyhounds died or were put to sleep and nearly 18,000 injuries were recorded from greyhound racing between 2018 and 2021. The Valley greyhound track at Ystrad Mynach is an independent track, not governed by GBGB. Therefore, any dogs that have died, been put to sleep or were injured at that track are not included in these figures. However, animal charities working in the area have seen first-hand the types of horrific injuries faced by dogs competing at The Valley.

Some of the dogs used in UK 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”.

How to Get Involved

Click the button below to visit the campaign page on the Dogs Trust website where you can contact your local MS to voice your support for a ban on greyhound racing in Wales.