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DEFRA publishes review of regulations around racing greyhound welfare

DEFRA publishes review into the effectiveness of the Welfare of Racing Greyhound Regulations 2010.

Under the Regulations, all tracks should:

  • have a veterinary surgeon present at all race meetings and trials; with each greyhound examined by the vet prior to racing or trialling and no greyhound being allowed to run if the vet deems it is unfit to race for any reason;
    • ensure that the veterinary surgeon has suitable facilities;
    • provide an adequate number of suitably ventilated kennels;
    • only allow greyhounds which are microchipped and tattooed (with details on an appropriate national database) to race or trial at the track;
    • keep records of all greyhounds who race or trial at the track; and
    • keep records of any greyhounds injured at the track.
    The Regulations do not cover conditions at trainers’ and breeders’ kennels or during transportation, or the retirement or euthanasia of greyhounds.

The review – perhaps unsurprisingly – concludes that the Regulations have been largely effective, stating that the “Regulations appear to have been successful in establishing a set of minimum welfare standards at all greyhound racetracks in England…” The review also concludes that the introduction of compulsory microchipping of racing greyhounds has improved traceability during their careers. However, it acknowledges that this is less evident once a racing dog has left the sport.

Unfortunately, DEFRA makes no recommendations specifically addressing the issue of post-career traceability. Instead, it suggests that compulsory microchipping should lead to improvements. The review states that from 2018, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) will publish aggregate figures of dogs injured or euthanized at GBGB tracks, as well as figures related to dogs leaving the sport. The publication of these figures is not a regulatory requirement, however.

The full review is available here: http://bit.ly/2cK5rxF.

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