Activists in UK Target Greyhound Racing

The Independent published a story recently suggesting that after the ban on fox hunting with hounds finally goes into effect in Great Britain, that activists will turn their attention next to outlaying greyhound racing.

According to The Independent, greyhound racing in the UK is a Pound 2.5 billion annual business. There are a total of 51 greyhound racetracks in Great Britain, with 31 part of the British Greyhound Racing Board and the other 20 being independent and unlicensed tracks.

Animal rights activists charge that as many as 6,000 dogs are abandoned or put to death by those involved in greyhound racing once their usefulness in the races has finished. Organizers of greyhound races counter that while there are some involved in racing who do abandon or kill dogs that are no longer useful, that this represents a small segment of racing and that the problem is greatly exaggerated considering large numbers of animals abandoned by people who simply no longer want to keep dogs as pets.

According to the Independent, the audience for greyhound racing has all but disappeared and greyhound races today are primarily events intended for television broadcast for betting purposes.

Opponents of greyhound racing in the UK are also venting their anger in Ireland, which the Independent reports is where 80 percent of the dogs that end up in the races are bred. According to The Independent,

The industry has recently been targeted by the Animal Liberation Front. In November, activists vandalized part of Shelbourne Park racing track. A statement released afterwards said the action was “in protest at the slaughter of thousands of greyhounds at the hands of Bord na gCon (the Irish Greyhound Board) . . . Actions against greyhound tracks will continue until racing is ended.” It singed off with the ALF slogan “Till all are free.” The previous month, Kerry Foods’ billboards at Limerick Greyhound Stadium were damaged. Claiming responsibility, ALF said: “Message to the greyhound industry in Ireland: we will be back until Kerry Foods stop sponsoring animal abuse.”


A Dog’s Life Ain’t What It Used to Be. Jonathan Brown, The Independent (London), January 17, 2005.

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