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Blue Cross pet charity demands government ban on dog racing tracks like Central Park Greyhounds, Sittingbourne, and Crayford Stadium

Dog racing “must come to an end,” says a pet charity looking to ban the sport.

Blue Cross has launched a campaign calling on the government to close down dog tracks such as Central Park Greyhounds in Sittingbourne and Crayford Stadium within the next five years.

The charity has pointed out that 2,239 greyhounds died between 2018 and 2022 while 22,284 injuries were reported in the same year, which it says “exposes the grim reality” of the races.

But the Greyhound Board of Great Britain claims that the charity’s evidence was “taken from the internet and is incorrect and nearly all outdated”.

GBGB says that race tracks such as Central Park and Crayford employ an average of 300 full-time and 1,600 part-time employees, with the industry having a direct value of £97 million to the UK economy.

However, Kerry Taylor, education manager for the charity, told KentOnline that “now is the time” to ban the races.

She said: “We have been working for many years with the greyhound racing industry to improve the welfare of the dogs but we are still finding significant issues.

“We want to improve the conditions of the greyhounds, on and off the tracks.

The Blue Cross want tracks like Central Park shut down
The Blue Cross want tracks like Central Park shut down

“The dogs that are rescued by our charity often have poor diets, no enrichment and take a while to rehome because they are used to kennel life.

“Common injuries are tendon and ligament damage as well as fractures due to the huge amount of pressure on their limbs when they race. There are also often collisions so there is a huge risk of being injured on the track alone.”

Mrs Taylor added that “the popularity of the sport is dwindling” pointing to a recent survey conducted by the charity which found that 91% of the British public neither engage in nor support greyhound racing while only 14% consider it part of British culture.

To view the petition click here.

A GBGB spokesman has challenged The Blue Cross “on whether the dogs in their care have the same quality of welfare” as they have in their sport.

He added: “Welfare is absolutely paramount within licensed greyhound racing and the care and wellbeing of greyhounds is prioritised above all else.

“That’s why we have implemented A Good Life for Every Greyhound strategy which ensures every registered greyhound receives the very best care and protection throughout their lives.”

Ex-racer greyhound Bella after being rehomed by Blue Cross. Picture Blue Cross
Ex-racer greyhound Bella after being rehomed by Blue Cross. Picture Blue Cross

GBGB points to its own data, which shows “huge improvements” with 932 greyhounds dying over the course of 2018 whereas in 2022, the figure has fallen 67% to 306.

The spokesman added: “The Blue Cross has merely consolidated five years’ worth of our own data.

“Being loud doesn’t make you right and we will always prioritise an evidence-based, animal welfare approach over animal rights activism.”

GBGB also claims that more than 800,000 people attended greyhound races in 2022.

The spokesman added: “Indeed, our inaugural National Greyhound Week, which took place just a few weeks ago, saw packed stands at licensed stadia across the country showcasing the popularity of the sport.”

Both Sittingbourne and Crayford stadiums were approached for comment but both declined.

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