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.
In early 2018, we appointed Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI), the world’s leading sports’ turf consultants, to support all GBGB licensed tracks in their track preparation and maintenance.
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.
As well as sharing the latest innovations, STRI are providing ongoing support and specialist training for track ground staff.
They are also carrying out several additional research projects to further best practice development across our tracks.
Injury Recovery Scheme
Our Injury Recovery Scheme (IRS), launched in October 2018, is a nationwide initiative which provides financial assistance to an owner whose greyhound has sustained a career-ending orthopaedic injury at a GBGB licensed racecourse.
Funding is provided towards corrective veterinary treatment for orthopaedic (bone) injuries so that wherever possible greyhounds can go on to enjoy a full and active life in retirement.
A grant of 50% towards the veterinary costs, up to a maximum of £400 per greyhound, is payable to the applicant upon completion of an IRS application form and the production of a fully paid veterinary invoice.
The initiative has already seen a positive impact, providing funds for the successful treatment, recovery and rehoming of a number of 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.
Monmore Pilot Scheme
Since January 2019, we have also been trialling an extension to our national IRS scheme at Monmore Green Stadium.
Under this new pilot scheme, in the event that any owner is still unable to afford veterinary and treatment costs with the help of the national IRS scheme, the greyhound will be transferred to the Greyhound Trust and will be treated by their veterinary charity partner. The greyhound will then be able to recover in a Trust foster home before entering a homing scheme once fully recovered.
This additional pilot scheme is being funded jointly between GBGB and Ladbrokes Coral Stadia, with a contribution expected from owners towards the veterinary costs. The trial is taking place at Monmore over a 12-month period and is being monitored closely by GBGB, with a view to a national roll-out should this prove successful.
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.