In what some are calling a landmark decision at GBGB, Thursday’s board meeting saw agreement reached to implement a new warm weather policy on greyhound racing in Britain writes Floyd Amphlett.
Although the racecourse promoters would legitimately claim that they have always made welfare a priority in terms of extreme weather conditions, the failure of GBGB to incorporate it into its regulations, has led to accusations from welfare charities of the industry putting profits first.
The timing could not have been more opportune with Central Park, Henlow and Hove among the tracks to have cancelled meetings today.
Hove stadium manager Brian Murphy said: “It was an easy decision to make. The dogs were at the track but the temperature continued to rise and we made the decision at around 2pm.
“As anyone would know who has seen our track kennels, they are air conditioned and I think the dogs enjoyed their time in them. I might go and spend half an hour in there myself.”
GBGB Managing Director, Mark Bird said: “We have worked closely with stakeholders to develop this evidenced-based policy to further protect the welfare and safety of our racing greyhounds. With incidences of high temperatures becoming a more regular occurrence, it has been designed to provide tracks with a structured approach to help mitigate the effects of hot weather and provides clear guidance for when this policy applies.
“The most significant change is that the policy states that racing should be cancelled or suspended if temperatures at the track reach 34 degrees. It is the track’s responsibility to take and record these readings and to make the decision to suspend or cancel racing. Below the figure of 34 degrees, tracks will continue to monitor temperature readings and employ a number of special measures to ensure all greyhounds are comfortable, cool and hydrated.
“With extreme hot weather forecast for the next few days, I have spoken with some promoters who are already considering cancelling their race meetings. This decision is based not solely on the viability of the running at their tracks but also the comfort of dogs being transported to and from the track. Racecourse executives have previously cancelled meetings at such high temperatures, but this policy now gives clear guidance and a top temperature for racing, highlighting how seriously we all take the safety and welfare of our greyhounds.”
A copy of the Hot Weather Policy will be placed on the GBGB Website in due course.