Senedd's Petitions Committee backs the phasing out of greyhound racing in Wales

Senedd's Petitions Committee backs the phasing out of greyhound racing in Wales

RSPCA Cymru has expressed delight as the Senedd's Petitions Committee backs the phasing out of greyhound racing in Wales.

A majority of Committee members are supporting a ban, after launching an inquiry into the future of the sport in Wales. The RSPCA was one of a number of organisations to give evidence to the inquiry.

The Committee's decision to launch an inquiry followed more than 35,000 signing a petition calling for a ban - demonstrating the levels of public support which exist against the sport, and a growing sense that the sport is considered socially unacceptable.

The charity believes greyhound racing puts dogs at risk of painful injuries and even death which are unnecessary and completely preventable. Greyhound racing is inherently dangerous for the dogs involved. Running at speed around oval tracks causes significant injury to many dogs, and in some cases, the injuries are so severe that it is necessary for dogs to be put to sleep.

Phasing out the sport is the only solution

In Wales, no specific statutory regulation or laws exist governing greyhound racing - unlike in England. However, the RSPCA does not believe regulation will offer sufficient protections for greyhound welfare - and that phasing out the sport is the only solution.

Wales' only remaining racing track is also not licensed - but the RSPCA believes licensing does not solve the issue and doesn't afford each and every dog with a good quality of life.

The charity recently undertook a comprehensive internal review - alongside the Dogs Trust and Blue Cross - which demonstrated serious concerns at every stage of a racing greyhound's life, including issues around inadequate welfare standards in kennelling and transporting the dogs.

Joint campaign with other charities

Subsequently, the RSPCA has joined forces with Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales, as part of the 'Cut the Chase' campaign, calling for a phased end to the sport. The coalition believes that in Wales, with only one track currently operating in the country, the sport could be phased out quickly by the Welsh Government.

Across England and Wales, the RSPCA has called for greyhound racing to be phased out over the next five years.

Now, Petitions Committee members have shown their support by calling on the Welsh Government to ban the sport; with all but one of the Committee's five Members supporting a phased out ban.

In his foreword to the report, Petitions Committee chair Jack Sargeant MS said: "After considering the evidence from animal charities and the industry, including the steps already taken and planned to improve animal welfare, our majority conclusion is to support the growing calls for a ban on greyhound racing in Wales."

The report goes on to note that "the Cut the Chase campaign launched earlier this year sets out a compelling case for change, and endorses a practical phase-out approach rather than a hard cut-off."

RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said:

We're delighted that the Senedd's Petitions Committee is urging the Welsh Government to ban greyhound racing in Wales.

This was an important inquiry, and an opportunity to highlight the many welfare issues associated with greyhound racing which exist from birth through to death.

With no vet at the track, and no requirement to publish the number of injuries or deaths, it's hard to estimate the true scale of welfare problems in Wales caused by greyhound racing - but so long as this sport continues, dogs are needlessly placed at serious risk of painful injuries and death.

Wales is one of only ten countries in the world where commercial greyhound racing remains. It’s time for Wales to cut the chase on greyhound racing, and consign this so-called sport to the history books.