A ban on greyhound racing in Scotland potentially moved a step closer following an extraordinary meeting of the public petitions committee of the Scottish Parliament writes Floyd Amphlett.
Before responding, as the editor of Britain’s longest established specialist greyhound racing publisher, I would ask readers to click on the following link. You may then want to scrub to the 10 hours 44 minute mark where the Greens MSP Mark Ruskell makes the case against greyhound racing.
There are so many issues raised by Mr Ruskell and within the first minute he shows himself to be completely out of his depth.
1) He makes reference to his pet greyhound who “raced with a broken leg“, it “received no treatment at all and was raced again“. Some dog! I wonder how quickly Mr Ruskell might run with a broken leg? Pillock! Also, where did this dog race? Hopefully not Shawfield, because they would imply gross negligence on behalf of the track vet. Perhaps Mr Ruskell could be a little more definitive or send further details to Billy King’s solicitors?
2) “He is a very lucky dog. Most of the dogs who are no longer cutting it any more are just put down.” So that wouldn’t be the 87% of GBGB dogs who are re-homed? And how exactly are they “Disposed of in other ways” Come on, detail.
3) “So it is quite clear to the petitioners (an anti group) and a number of people, stakeholders, that the code of practice that the Greyhound Board of Great Britain have drawn up is not worth the paper it is written on.” So is “the ‘evidence” is purely based on the opinion of people who want to close down greyhound racing? Don’t you just love a balanced view?
4) “It is very difficult to see enforcement, particularly under the 2006 Animal Health & Welfare Act”. That appears to be a very different view from MP Neil Parrish. Unlike Mr Ruskell, the Chairman of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare has worked for years with, and actually understands, greyhound racing. Earlier this year he stated he saw no reason for greyhound racing to be banned
5) “Notable well documented cases of trainers feeding dogs cocaine” This is partially true. In 2018 the GBGB Calendar showed there were three positives for minute residues of cocaine metabolites that were in each cased considered to be accidental via contamination (from roughly 330,000 greyhound performances). More recently was was a notable case of a much more sinister nature at Shawfield. GBGB acted swiftly a issued a lifetime ban for the offending trainer. Unfortunately, this is not a ‘Minority Report’ sci-fi world. While GBGB would presumably love to employ a couple of savants who can predict the future, as in the Tom Cruise movie, as things stand, they can’t ban anyone until a crime has been committed.
6) The final point relates to greyhound racing in general and an implied slur on the people who work in an industry that cannot be “ethically justified”. Of course the flip side to that is like saying ‘if you have one bad egg, such as . . . for example. . . . the leader of a parliamentary party who abuses his position to become a sexual predator’, can we assume that all politicians a) think is it acceptable, b) choose to ignore it, or c) have a similar history? Because that is how Mr Ruskell is judging greyhound folk over our tiny minority of people who let down the industry.
I would ask any of our Scottish readers to similarly petition the Scottish Parliament to consider the following:
1) That any person who is engaged on any committee to decide the future of greyhound racing in Scotland should know what they are debating and not work with absurd second hand info like Mr Ruskell. Had anybody in that committee room ever attended a greyhound track? Do they know any greyhound trainers? Furthermore, Mr Ruskell should be barred from any participating role, because by his own admission, his opinion is already tainted.
2) Can Mr Ruskell confirm that he is fit to own a greyhound? He clearly has very limited understanding. As a point of reference, the food goes in at the pointy end with the teeth. The shite comes out of the other end. Quite clearly, it come out of both ends from a Green MSP.