The majority of people in Oxfordshire, UK do not want greyhound racing to begin again.
The activity ceased after the Greyhound Racing Association closed Oxford Stadium in 2012. While some proposed redevelopment for the site, it has remained a sports stadium suitable for motorbike and dog racing. A £1.1 million relief package from the British Greyhound Racing Fund fuels concerns that dogs will soon run again at the stadium.
Market research company Savanta ComRes conducted a survey to gauge local opinion on greyhound racing. PETA and the League Against Cruel Sports commissioned the poll. More than 70 percent of participants want to see the stadium used for alternative purposes.
Almost 30,000 people have signed an online petition to block greyhound racing at the track.
Oxford turns its back on greyhound racing
The previous closure of Oxford Stadium was met with local opposition. Three hundred jobs people lost their jobs and talk of local traditions surfaced. Attitudes have since changed.
“The majority of Oxfordshire residents do not want to see greyhound racing return and would not attend the races. [They] chew sensitive, intelligent dogs up and discard them like used betting slips,” Kate Werner, senior campaign manager at PETA said in a statement.
She added: “We are calling on local officials to respect the opinion of the people they represent and oppose greyhound racing at Oxford Stadium.”
More than 200 people participated in the Savanta ComRes poll with 153 suggesting alternate uses for the site. Kevin Boothby, managing director of the stadium, jumped on the small-scale sampling to undermine the survey’s findings.
“PETA’s survey is based on the opinion of 153 individuals – or 0.0002 percent of Oxfordshire’s residents,” he told Oxford Mail. “It’s disappointing PETA and its campaign leaders consider this appalling turnout as opinions that represents the views of the entire county.”
The case against dog racing
Activists lobbied for a total ban on greyhound racing in April after a slew of deaths and dogs testing positive for cocaine.
Boothby states he will be working with PETA to allay fears about dog welfare.
Jeremy Cooper, chairman of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain and former RSPCA chief executive, claims that “welfare is absolutely paramount within greyhound racing.”
“Everyone involved is deeply committed to always putting the health and wellbeing of our greyhounds first.”
Neither commented on the almost 30,000-strong petition nor predicted crowd turnout figures if races resume.