I know you are not the GBGB but I have an enquiry that they don’t seem to answer so I am trying other avenues for a response. Firstly can I start by saying I am not against greyhound racing and far from being a campaigner against the sport. I am formally an owner of a racing dog a Nottingham (Miss Polly) who retired a few years ago and now spender her time flat out in front of my TV!
Since Polly retired I have toyed with the idea of another racer but was a little concerned by the final section in rule 18 with the GBGB, I only became aware that it was accepted to have the dogs put to sleep if they couldn’t be homes when I was completing the retirement form Polly.
After some research last year I noticed the GBGB said the data relating to rule 18 would be published from 2018 I have ask when and where this will be but have no response. Along side the speculation around some of Peter Harnden’s dogs I find it a little concerning that this kind of question is being avoided.
Are they concerned by the findings? Are there certain trainers that will look bad particularly some high profile ones? If so what is going to be done? The sport can never take forward steps until it is seen to be protecting the dogs. The dogs clearly love the running but it will not be widely accepted until they are clearly being put first.
Rule 18 is without doubt the most contentious of all rules as it is seen as the one which ‘justifies’ an owner being allowed to have a greyhound euthanased on economic grounds. In fact, the original aim of the rule was a worthy one – to clearly identify the responsibilities of an owner. If they didn’t take responsibility for their racers, they could be sanctioned under the rule of racing.
It is worth remembering that by common law, it is the prerogative of any owner to dispose of his/her property – provided that it is done in a humane way.
This though is not about illegal action it is about moral responsibility and I have every confidence that the ‘right to dispose on economic grounds’ will soon be removed from the green form. That doesn’t take away the problem though. Owners will continue to be held entirely responsible for their ex-racers. That is a huge disincentive to becoming an owner and a massive financial undertaking. Many believe, myself included, that this responsibility has not traditionally been fairly shared by the tracks and betting industry.
However, in recent times both have increasingly been stepping up to the mark. Three tracks have already pledged to home all their ex-racers, many more plough huge sums into their retirement schemes. We recently produced a study that suggested that the industry would be in a position to re-home every ex-racer if ALL the bookmakers paid into the British Greyhound Racing Fund.
In relation to Pete Harnden’s ‘missing greyhounds’ – we published evidence that many on the missing list were still in the kennel, others had in fact been re-homed. Even though we published letters and photos from the new owners and clearly identified the dogs, some of the antis claimed that they were different dogs; a practically impossible claim to disprove without visiting and checking every home.
Furthermore, some of the re-homings were carried out through other retirement kennels, many years earlier, and would have been bordering on impossible to verify.
In principle though, the industry will surely soon face the reality that turning a blind eye to trainers who routinely dispose of ex-racers without making any effort to re-home them will not be acceptable.
As for the current euthanasia and injury figures, they will be published by GBGB during March of this year.
I can’t get Racing Post TV, which I think is good, to give me any answers or read out my emails. This is a spectacular own goal by the rival SIS & Media Group. A good example was Romford on a Friday night. The open racing was the best racing of the week every Friday why drop it? It’s a step backwards that they and the bookies should be promoting it. Dark ages again.
Sadly, it is a commercial decision with a clear aim of attracting business to SIS customers. Clearly, they were not able to reach agreement with RPGTV. The big surprise though, as highlighted by Pat Rosney last week, is that the lack of TV coverage appears to have cost Romford in terms of entries for their Friday races. Maybe an important lesson learned.