‘Cut the Chase’ coalition urges Welsh Government to phase out greyhound racing

A new Welsh Government consultation must deliver an end to greyhound racing in Wales.

That’s the call from a group of leading animal welfare charities – who have urged the Welsh Government to phase out greyhound racing as part of its future plans for regulating animal-related activities.

The ‘Cut the Chase’ coalition – made up of the RSPCA, Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales – has long expressed concern about the negative welfare consequences that racing has on dogs.

Now, in a move which could see Wales become the first nation in the UK to phase out the activity, the Welsh Government has today (8 December) launched a new 12-week consultation that will consider the future of greyhound racing. It is hoped the consultation could pave the way for legislation to end greyhound racing in Wales.

Wales is one of only ten countries in the world – including all other UK nations – where greyhound racing continues in 2023.

But there has long been concern that greyhounds are needlessly placed at serious risk of painful injuries and death when competing.

Wales’ only remaining racing track was previously an unlicensed, ‘flapping’ track – but earlier this year fell under the auspices of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), making it Wales’ first licensed greyhound track in 40 years.

The Cut the Chase Coalition does not believe that industry self-regulation is compatible with protecting the welfare of greyhounds – and, since the track was granted a licence by GBGB, animal welfare groups have continued to express concerns about the welfare of dogs competing.

Running at speed around oval tracks can cause significant injury to many dogs – and statistics from the GBGB, published in June, found that 244 dogs died or were put to sleep due to their participation in greyhound racing over the previous year, while there were 4,354 injuries to dogs.

Welfare concerns extend to every stage of a racing greyhound’s life, including issues around inadequate welfare standards in kennelling and transporting the dogs.

Dr Samantha Gaines, from the RSPCA, speaking on behalf of the ‘Cut the Chase’ coalition, said: “As long as greyhound racing is allowed to continue in Wales, dogs are needlessly put at risk of serious injury and death all in the name of entertainment.

“Fortunately, the launch of this consultation offers a golden opportunity for the Welsh Government to commit to phasing out greyhound racing in Wales – once and for all.

“The ‘Cut the Chase’ coalition believe the science, public opinion and animal welfare considerations all clearly demonstrate that the time has come for the Minister for Rural Affairs in Wales to act – while globally, the prevalence of greyhound racing has been in serious decline.

“Wales needs to seize this opportunity to phase out greyhound racing for good; and deliver a better life for greyhounds.”

Last year, in a landmark report, a majority of Senedd Members on the Welsh Parliament’s Petitions Committee backed calls for a ban on greyhound racing.

That followed the submission of a public petition to the committee backing a ban – which was signed by more than 35,000 people, including more than 18,000 directly from Wales.

In Wales, no specific statutory regulation or laws currently exist governing greyhound racing – unlike in England.

However, the Cut the Chase coalition believes that phasing out the activity is the only solution to protect the animals involved from injury and death.

Those supporting the phasing out of greyhound racing can back the coalition’s calls and take action on the RSPCA website.