Welfare & Care
We are a country of animal lovers and sports lovers so it is vital that animal welfare is at the heart of greyhound racing.
The industry employs over 7,000 people who work to provide outstanding care to the thousands of registered racing greyhounds throughout the country.
From vets, stewards and racing managers to trainers and kennel staff, everyone involved in greyhound racing does it for the love of our dogs and our enjoyment of seeing them do what they do best.
The Greyhound Commitment
Our Greyhound Commitment sets out our expectations of how our sport should be run with welfare at its heart.
Launched in 2018, it is a series of statements which are underpinned by a number of initiatives and pledges, some of which GBGB already carries out and some of which are being developed. The Commitment has been agreed by all trainers, owners and stadia that we regulate because we all know that without happy, healthy hounds, we have no sport.
Unlike British horse racing, which is funded via a statutory levy on bookmakers, our work to support greyhound welfare is currently funded by voluntary contributions from the betting industry.
Through the Commitment, we have overseen the roll-out of a host of new welfare initiatives designed to improve standards in our sport even further. We are clear, however, that we need secure, adequate and long-term funding so that we can deliver on our ambitious welfare goals.
Safety at Track
The safety of every greyhound racing at a GBGB licensed track is absolutely paramount.
An independent Veterinary Surgeon is present at all GBGB tracks to check the health and wellbeing of every greyhound both before and after racing. They are also there to provide emergency care in the event that any dog needs it.
Like any animal, a racing greyhound is likely to experience injuries and illnesses throughout its lifetime. However, we constantly strive to minimise the possibility of an injury occurring whilst a greyhound is racing at our tracks. Each year, overseen by our Track Sub-Committee, we fund research into track improvements with a view to reducing injuries and helping to extend racing careers.
Our injury rates remain world-leading and through our partnership work with Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI), for example, we hope to further improve this.
Additionally, there have been a number of upgrades to racecourse kennels in recent years to ensure greyhounds can rest comfortably before and after their races. GBGB has also provided a number of grants for total rebuilds or for the installation of temperature control and air management systems to further improve standards of care at the track.
Each of our racecourses is regularly inspected by our Stipendiary Stewards to confirm that their facilities continue meet the required standards – this includes a thorough investigation of their kennels, veterinary facilities, racing paddocks and equipment.
Comfort in Kennels
Racing greyhounds live in residential kennels licensed by GBGB. To become licensed, kennels must meet standards of construction as outlined in the GBGB Rules of Racing and be compliant with the BSI Publicly Available Specification ‘PAS 251 – Specification for Trainers’ Residential Kennels’.
Developed in partnership with animal welfare organisations, veterinarians, government and industry specialists, the PAS covers all aspects of caring for a racing greyhound from diet, exercise and environmental enrichment to kennel specification and construction.
Licensed residential kennels are closely monitored; they receive a minimum of two unannounced visits by GBGB Stipendiary Stewards each year as well as an annual veterinary inspection which examines all aspects of the greyhounds’ care, health and wellbeing.
Since 2021, all GBGB residential kennels are also required to undergo independent audits. These external inspections, which are carried out by experienced animal welfare auditors NSF International, are based on the PAS 251:2017 and the findings from them are shared with GBGB to inform decisions on the issuing of trainer licences. Each year, through our Trainer Assistance Fund GBGB also provides grants for trainers’ kennels to upgrade and improve their facilities.
Our Code of Practice helps our trainers obtain and maintain the high standards required of them. The Code is a broad and comprehensive manual that brings together all the existing guidance and documentation on residential kennel standards into one place so that everyone in our sport understands what is expected of them and has the knowledge, advice and support to maintain consistently high standards of care.
The Code ensures there is clarity over the high standards expected for the operation and management of residential greyhound kennels as there is for GBGB licensed racecourses.
For trainers, owners or vets needing guidance on greyhound health, or to report a suspicious disease, please contact either your local Stipendiary Steward or ring the GBGB Veterinary Advice Line on 020 7822 0913.
Please note that the above number is a telephone answering machine service. Messages will be picked up regularly during GBGB office hours by a qualified member of staff.
For emergency advice please contact your local veterinary surgeon. Other contact information can be found here.