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Rural Affairs and Islands Committee

Petition PE1758: End greyhound racing in Scotland - League Against Cruel Sports Scotland submission of May 2021

Submission from the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland in relation to petition PE1758: End greyhound racing In Scotland

Greyhound supporting statement - League Against cruel Sports Scotland
May 2021

To many, greyhound racing appears to offer a fun night out – the thrill of seeing beautiful dogs racing at top speed, the chance to place bets and to socialise with friends. But the reality is very different. Dogs used for greyhound racing are kept for long periods of time in kennels and often alone. Intensive racing and training results in injuries, including broken toes, torn muscles and soreness. Furthermore, racing dogs suffer from drug abuse, with many greyhounds testing positive for class A drugs.

Greyhound racing in Scotland

Scotland has two active greyhound racing tracks left, Shawfield Stadium in Glasgow and Thornton Stadium in Fife. Shawfield is the only track in the country registered with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), with the other 18 tracks being in England. The significance of being a registered track is that since 2017 the GBGB have been required to publish annual injury and death statistics for all of their tracks, which provides an insight into the number of dogs losing their life or having a serious injury. The figures are published without a breakdown of numbers for each track, which means there is no accurate data accounting for how many dogs are injured and killed in Scotland.

The GBGB has ignored repeated calls for there to be a mechanism to track each dog through their name and chip so that all dogs are accounted for, as currently you cannot find out the fate of any specific dog. In total over the previous three year period there have been 14,770 dogs injured and 2,742 deaths reported. Included in these death rates are 668 dogs who were killed on the basis of the cost of treatment to rehabilitate them following an injury. Nearly 700 dogs have died in the last three years because their owners would or could not pay for their care.

The GBGB also performs random drug testing through urine samples from as little as 2% of dog runs. The results of these tests are published by the GBGB on their website. Despite such a low testing rate, the GBGB has admitted there are many dogs at Shawfield testing positive for substances including cocaine, amphetamine, codeine and human heart medication atenolol. Despite the dogs having been exposed to these performance enhancing drugs at great risk to their health, the rate of convictions for trainers is close to zero.

The industry is currently self-regulating meaning there is no external verification of the injury/death/information published by the GBGB. This raises concerns about the accuracy and transparency of the figures. While many of the actions within the industry itself causes great concern, what is perhaps more worrying is that in Scotland, Thornton Greyhound Stadium in Fife is not GBGB registered. The track has a betting and alcohol licence from the local council, but the racing itself is completely unregulated. Unlike with GBGB tracks, there are no kennel inspections, no drug tests, no injury and death statistics published, and no vet present at any races.


The League fundamentally believes dogs should not suffer or die for entertainment or for the profit of the dog racing industry. The League wishes to see the industry being phased out, with the eventual aim of a ban on greyhound racing. With this in mind, we wholeheartedly support SAGE’s petition PE01758 to end greyhound racing in Scotland.

Robbie Marsland, Director

League Against Cruel Sports Scotland

Associated petition

End greyhound racing In Scotland