Investing in Welfare
Since 2015, GBGB has invested over £13.5 million to improve the safety and welfare of racing greyhounds. This investment is reliant on voluntary contributions from the betting industry, via the British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF).
As part of our Greyhound Commitment, launched in 2018, we have developed a range of vital welfare initiatives aimed at further improving standards across our sport and developing best practice. This has been in areas such as track safety, animal husbandry, injury recovery and rehoming of retired greyhounds.
Building on this, in 2022 GBGB launched our new long-term welfare strategy 'A Good Life for Every Greyhound' to further promote and protect welfare across all stages of a racing greyhound's life: breeding, rearing, active years and retirement.
Since 2018, we have worked with STRI (formerly the Sports Turf Research Institute), the world’s leading sports’ turf consultants.
This partnership has seen STRI work closely with our Track Sub-Committee and each of our tracks to develop detailed assessments on their sand profile, drainage, equipment and individual track practices. They provide ongoing support to all GBGB licensed tracks in their track preparation and maintenance.
As well as sharing the latest innovations, STRI also provide ongoing support and specialist training for track ground staff.
GBGB’s Track Liason Officer works closely with STRI and each of our tracks to ensure our athletes race on the safest possible surfaces.
Injury Recovery Scheme
GBGB’s Injury Recovery Scheme (IRS) is a nationwide initiative that provides financial assistance to any owner whose greyhound has sustained a career-ending orthopaedic injury at a GBGB licensed racecourse.
Funding is provided towards corrective veterinary treatment for orthopaedic injuries so that, wherever possible, greyhounds can go on to enjoy a full and active life in retirement.
The initiative has already seen a positive impact, providing funds for the successful treatment of many greyhounds. Between its launch in November 2018 and July 2021, GBGB paid out over £300,000 through the scheme.
In 2021, GBGB extended the scheme to provide increased funds to cover more complex and costly veterinary treatment.
Commenting on the extension of the IRS, Mark Bird, GBGB Managing Director, said:
“We have been pleased with the impact of the IRS and know that further investment will go a long way to supporting trainers and owners to cover the cost of more complex and costly veterinary procedures. The Board was therefore unanimous in its support to improve the level of IRS funding available.
“We know that with the right treatment and care, these greyhounds can go on to live long, happy and fulfilled lives as pets. We are hopeful that this increased funding will help further facilitate this outcome for more greyhounds.”
Owner Olivia on the IRS:
“My greyhound Chilli, race name ‘Special Redhot’, unfortunately sustained a broken toe whilst racing earlier this year.
Chilli’s welfare is the most important thing to me so there was no doubt that he was going to get the best treatment possible and go onto have a happy retirement, regardless of the cost. However, the GBGB’s contribution was a welcome gesture and helpful for me as an owner.
Chilli recovered from his surgery well and is now spending time at Lincolnshire Greyhound Trust in Epping, awaiting his forever home. Recently he even donated some blood and saved the life of another dog.”
Information about how to access and apply for the Injury Recovery Scheme is available via My Kennel. Alternatively, you can contact the GBGB Welfare Department on 020 7822 0900 (option 1) or speak to your stadium Welfare Officer.
Animal Care and Welfare Apprenticeship
In Autumn 2018, we welcomed the first cohort of Apprentices onto our new Animal Care and Welfare Apprenticeship. This programme of study, which results in a Level 2 qualification, offers hands-on training in delivering world-class care to racing greyhounds.
It was developed in partnership with a number of prominent animal welfare organisations including the RSPCA, Dogs Trust and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and was the first of its kind to be launched under the government’s Apprenticeship Trailblazer system.
Through this Apprenticeship, we are training and upskilling the next generation of kennel staff and providing them with a transferrable qualification in husbandry and canine welfare.
As part of the scheme, Apprentices will work for a minimum of 12 months at racing kennels, undertaking off-the-job training and completing modules in animal care and welfare, biology, behaviour and handling. They also attend guest lectures with specialists in the field, including animal behaviourists from the Dogs Trust, and gain an insight into the safe running of our stadiums – from the Racing Office to correct track preparation.