The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has today launched the first stage of its long term, national welfare Strategy – ‘A Good Life for Every Greyhound.’

Building on the success of the sport’s ongoing Greyhound Commitment and the appointment of Professor Madeleine Campbell as an Independent Director, GBGB has announced that Professor Campbell will head the development of the Strategy in liaison with the sport, welfare bodies and key partners. This includes homing centres, owners, trainers, promoters and key external stakeholders.

The Strategy will also consider how best to develop the responsibility of the bookmaking industry for funding welfare in a sport that contributes so successfully to their revenue and profits.

Building on the success of initiatives such as GBGB’s Greyhound Retirement Scheme, and consistent with legislative and societal concern about animal sentience, the Strategy will take a holistic view of welfare focused on animals’ physiological and psychological needs across their lifetimes. It will focus not only on mitigating risks of injury and disease but aims also to identify, develop and implement management practices which optimise animal experience in all five welfare domains.

Announcing the Strategy, Mark Bird, Managing Director of GBGB, said:

“Over the past few years, through the success of the Greyhound Commitment, we have demonstrated world-leading standards of welfare within our sport. We have put to bed the scare stories peddled by activists with only outdated prejudices about our sport and have demonstrated that British greyhound racing has its house in order. But we are never complacent and we want to continue to be at the forefront of global animal welfare. This Strategy, which will be published in the Spring of 2022, will set out how racing greyhounds can benefit from the ultimate in welfare standards and how we will introduce this across our sport.

“The welfare of dogs is first and foremost in our sport. The standards that owners and trainers already adhere to go far beyond what domestic dog owners in this country are required to do. But we want more; we want every greyhound in this country – and indeed those who come here from abroad for racing careers – to enjoy the highest standards of care and attention across their lifetimes.

“We have significant support across the sport, our partners and our wider stakeholders for what we are already doing and what we are looking to achieve going forwards. The standards and values we already have in place leave the law for domestic pet owners far behind but, at a time when the need to pay due regard to animal sentience is being formalised, we want to ensure that the welfare needs of every racing greyhound are being comprehensively met whilst they have the opportunity to fulfil what they are bred to do and enjoy.  

 “With Professor Campbell’s appointment, we are now ideally placed to undertake the development of this longer-term Strategy; building on what is already strong and identifying how racing and the welfare of our greyhounds can be future proofed for the decades ahead.”

Professor Madeleine Campbell said:

“I have been hugely impressed by the willingness and enthusiasm of everyone I have already spoken to, to engage with the process of developing a strategy which will fulfil our shared aim of optimising the welfare of racing greyhounds, across their lifetimes. I want this Strategy to be an international template for positive greyhound welfare as the sport continues to go from strength to strength. In developing this Strategy, I look forward to working with a wide range of industry and academic stakeholders involved in greyhound racing, other sports, and animal welfare and ethics more generally.”  

Jeremy Cooper, Chair of GBGB and former CEO of the RSPCA, said:

“We are realists within this sport and we are actively involved in the welfare of greyhounds on a daily basis. We are not a sport that pontificates or plays to the crowd. We get on with doing the right thing. Welfare is critical to this but so is holding the bookmaking industry to account so that those who financially benefit from the sport contribute appropriately to its success.

“As a former CEO of the RSPCA, I look at the existing welfare standards in greyhound racing and wish that these were in place for all dog owners in the UK. It saddens me that the standards this sport rightly upholds and continues to improve on, are not shared for all dogs in the UK. As we develop our Strategy, I very much hope that what we learn and share can assist in raising the standards of welfare for domestic dogs across the UK.”