Dogged pursuit

I WAS listening recently to a radio interview concerning injuries to racing greyhounds. The person being interviewed was a representative of the British Greyhound Racing Board (BGRB) who was more skilled than a politician at evading questions. The discuss

I WAS listening recently to a radio interview concerning injuries to racing greyhounds. The person being interviewed was a representative of the British Greyhound Racing Board (BGRB) who was more skilled than a politician at evading questions.

The discussion prompted me to contact the BGRB press office and speak to the very same person in the naïve hope that I could get answers to important welfare questions.

He refused, however, to give any figure for the number of dogs put down because of injuries sustained on the track and would not give an opinion about the recommendation within a major independent greyhound welfare report that the industry should be required by law to record and publish annual injuries to greyhounds.

In fact, he had no interest in discussing any welfare issue and said concerns should be e-mailed to the BGRB. It should come as no surprise that in a response the questions were once again evaded. What has the British greyhound racing industry to hide?

While it is the Racecourse Promoters Association (RCPA) that is collating data relating to injuries, the industry's regulatory body - the National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC) - is compiling records on the fate of retired greyhounds. There is a requirement for the last registered owner to complete and return a form stating, for example, whether the animal was destroyed or homed through a rescue.

When the NGRC was approached last year for this information, the security co-ordinator said: "If I thought or if I consider in some way that it could be, that it could cause harm or distress to an individual or something like that, then I would be very concerned about passing that information on." A truly mind boggling response.

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The reason for the secrecy is obvious: the industry is only too aware that, if everyone knew the shocking reality of greyhound racing, it would no longer receive sufficient support to remain commercially viable.

PETER HESKETH, Mayfield Road, Huntingdon

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