Welfare questions

Interesting to read of the trainers responsible for euthanised greyhounds. Surely common sense dictates on several forms that the following facts are:
1) If you cannot re-homed or pay vets fees you have too many greyhounds.
2) Welfare homing alone and ensuring in future new trainers can start on ever fewer tracks there should be a sensible max limit on greyhounds you can keep! Imagine the outcry if a pet owner had huge amounts of dogs to re-home by volunteers.
3) Each dog should have mandatory vet insurance
4) Mandatory pre race / pre trial/ pre gallop warm up. Go to any schooling track and ‘trainers’ go from van to track cold internal muscle structure. It’s not hard 5-8 minutes light massage/fast walk – not standing by traps! Injuries would plummet, would increase performance and stop lot of cramping! Needs mandatory training for all trainers
Lastly why are the trainers euthanising dogs not named? Openness promotes a welfare image!

Christine Livett

An Industry of Two Halves

Well, here we are one year on from the racing schedule changes forced upon the industry and the impact the media rights have had, splintering the business into segregated groups. There will be many tracks who find themselves in a downward spiral struggling to strike the balance and keep their financial heads above water.

Streaming funds have gone into welfare, track equipment, trainers and kennels, but not I suspect in that order. It’s a logical conclusion that more racing will invoke increases in staff complements and additional greyhound trainers. Considering the greyhound industry was almost on its knees such a short time ago everyone is having to adapt and learn fast about track preparation, grading races and welfare.

Greyhound owners and trainers are being appeased with higher run money and prize money so long as they can keep providing the numbers of greyhounds required by their individual tracks. Now we have owners, trainers, punters and betting providers on the right road, but the road to where?

Most tracks race their daytime meetings to an audience barely into double figures. The evening racegoers are on a decline and have been for some time. What are the tracks doing to attract people through their doors? I think it’s evident that free entry with the enticement of a burger and a pint is not sustainable.

Speak to any regular visitor to the tracks and they will tell you they came along as a kid with their grandad, or some such relative and how they used to run about collecting tickets whilst munching on a bag of crisps with a glass of coke. Happy memories and a tradition in the making over the years.

This business is changing, and the tracks need to change with it. There’s a market out there for afternoon visitors but hard work is needed to encourage them to come along. ‘Meet the Greyhound’ for disabled groups, after schools’ clubs for kids, OAP afternoon teas and so on.

This kind of marketing pays for itself, all you need is someone to organise it. Stadia have become like ghost towns and most don’t even run the tote during the day time meetings. How is that encouraging visitors?

The emphasis in 2018 has been the racing product but unless some effort and drive is forthcoming throughout 2019 the atmosphere, excitement and thrill of the racing will die off. Who wants a day or evening out in a soulless venue which unfortunately the tracks are becoming? You can’t deny the buzz from a packed stadium and the shouts and screams of encouragement as the hounds cross the winning line.

It’s not too late for the tracks to reverse this trend if they focus on their potential racegoers as well as the existing punters. Gone are the days when racegoers queued up at the turnstiles for their weekly night out at their local track. With just 21 tracks remaining the majority of customers will have to travel to their nearest venue, so the journey has to be worth their while.

A warm and inviting welcome would be a start and with Christmas revellers about to flock through the doors, getting them to return in 2019 is within easy reach.

Diana Illingworth