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Animal activists have welcomed news that a planning application has been submitted to build almost 250 new homes on a major greyhound racing track.

Belle Vue track in Manchester was built in 1926, making it the first purpose-built dog track in England. Supporters of the track describe it as ‘historic’ and have vowed to fight the planning application.

Campaigners from the Shut Down Belle Vue group protest outside the track every week, holding banners with the slogan: “Greyhounds exploited, abused, killed’ and ‘you bet, they die’.”

These campaigners say it is essential the housing plans go through – in order to save the greyhounds who race at the track.

‘You bet, they die’

“According to the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) rules, greyhounds can be destroyed on economic grounds, this also applies to dogs with the most basic of injuries sustained during a collision or fall, where it may not be cost-effective to treat or rest a dog,” Rita James, Founder of Caged Nationwide, which works to bring the plight of the greyhound to the attention of the British public, told Plant Based News.

“The industry is dependent on mass breeding of greyhounds, therefore the thousands that are not suitable for racing may be disposed of before even reaching a track.”

According to GBGB data, 1013 dogs were killed due to racing during 2017.

Rescue centers

She added: “We have exposed cases of cruelty at numerous greyhound trainer kennels, and despite the shocking evidence, these same people remain to be licensed by the Greyhound Board, permitting them to continue to keep large quantities of dogs and to race them at tracks including Belle Vue stadium. Our understanding is that profit is prioritized over the welfare of the dogs.

“If Belle Vue track closes, trainers may choose to transfer their dogs to race at other tracks, such as Nottingham or Kinsley, others have the option to place dogs in a queue with rescue centers, where they can be found good homes.

“Under such circumstances, we will urge the Greyhound Board to encourage their people to place any unwanted dogs with rescues. Most independent rescues do not demand fees towards veterinary costs such as neutering and dentals and depend on public funding.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.