Animal-lovers in Wales have just one week left to sign an open letter to the Welsh Government calling for a phased end to greyhound racing.

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 and the greyhound industry has on dogs.

Wales could be the first nation in the UK to phase out the activity, with the Welsh Government’s 12-week consultation – which is considering the future of greyhound racing – due to close on St David’s Day.

As part of the Cut The Chase campaign, the RSPCA is calling on animal-lovers in Wales to sign an open letter to the Welsh Government on the charity’s website.

Dr Samantha Gaines, from the RSPCA, said: “As long as greyhound racing is allowed to continue in Wales, dogs are needlessly put at risk of serious injury and death. The level of suffering caused by greyhound racing, and the risks posed, are significant and must be considered unacceptable, especially when greyhound racing is a leisure activity.

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

“We’re urging people in Wales to sign our open letter to the Welsh Government before 1 March as this is our chance to show decision-makers that greyhounds deserve better – the only way to safeguard their welfare is to phase racing out. As we all strive to create a better world for every animal, this consultation offers an opportunity to make Wales a better place for greyhounds.”

Wales is one of only seven locations in the world – including the UK – 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.

Running at speed around oval tracks can cause significant injury to many dogs – and statistics from the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), published in June last year, 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.

In 2022, 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.

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