Activists are calling for a total ban on greyhound racing in Scotland over a host of animal welfare concerns, including fatal injuries on racetracks and repeated cases of animals being drugged.
The Shawfield Stadium is Scotland’s only regulated greyhound racing track, but there is a second unregulated track in Fife.
Several organizations are calling for an end to the practice. These include Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation (SAGE) and the Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA).
Not only are greyhounds subjected to doping with substances like cocaine (13 dogs tested positive from 2018 to 2019), but they are also highly susceptible to injury due to the dangerous configuration of the tracks. It is also difficult to rehome greyhounds after their racing careers, often resulting in early euthanasia.
SAGE is asking for Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Islands, and Natural Environment Committee to request a total ban.
‘We need legislative change to ban racing’
In 2019, SAGE started a petition against the sport.
It reads: “We need legislative change to ban racing in our country, to tackle the high number of injuries, deaths, and positive drug tests seen in this industry. To reflect the lack of public support for this unsavoury use of animals for human entertainment and gambling profit.”
The petition, which has more than 13,000 signatures, is backed by Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell. He said greyhound racing is an industry “that is really beyond reform.”
While greyhound racing is still legal in the UK, around the world, the industry is declining. In the US, it is illegal in more than 40 states.
The Greyhound Board of Great Britain maintains that welfare is a high priority and that it has strict anti-doping policies.
But in 2019, after 1,000 greyhounds died in one year in the UK, Chris Luffingham of the League Against Cruel Sports told the Guardian: “The greyhound industry continually fails to live up to its promises to truly put welfare first.”
“What these greyhounds really need is not yet more promises from the industry, but for the sport to be phased out and the greyhounds found good homes where they can live long and healthy lives.”