A coalition of nine animal welfare groups have issued a joint call to phase out greyhound racing in Scotland.
Operating under the “Unbound The Greyhound” banner, the campaign is urging Scotland’s government to take action and end dog racing.
Scotland’s parliament has agreed to conduct an inquiry on the issue after Scotland Against Greyhound Racing (Sage), one of the groups backing the campaign, lodged a petition.
OneKind, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, League Against Cruel Sports, Grey2K USA Worldwide, Animal Concern, Hope Rescue, All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group and Say No to Greyhound Racing in Scotland are also supporting the campaign.
“Scotland’s greyhound racing industry is on its last legs with just one, unlicensed, track remaining in Scotland,” the campaign said. “Polling also reveals that the majority of Scots want to see the Scottish government put an end to this cruel industry, that involves the deaths and injuries of dogs, amputations and doping.”
First minister considers action
Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell has declared his support for the initiative, having long campaigned to end dog racing. This included a call to close Thornton Greyhound Stadium, Scotland’s last remaining racetrack, which does not hold a licence.
Raising the issue with Scottish first minister, Humza Yousaf, in parliament this week, Ruskell said the industry is on its “last legs” and that the government should consider a phase-out.
“No dog deserves to be forced into a gambling-led industry with an unacceptable risk of injury and death,” Ruskell said. “Does the first minister agree that it is now time that Scotland phased out greyhound racing once and for all?”
In response, Yousaf agreed that animal welfare should be at the heart of the government’s agenda and he would consider what steps it could take.
“I am, of course, more than happy to look at how we can give further effect to Mark Ruskell’s ask,” Yousaf said. “We have a good record when it comes to animal welfare, but I agree that there is further for us to go.
“I will look at the detail of Mark Ruskell’s request and write to him in due course about our plans moving forward.”
Ruskell added: “I welcome the first minister’s interest and am glad that he shares my concerns. I hope that we can work together to phase out greyhound racing. No dog should endure the risks that are at the heart of this industry.
“It is heartening to see so many people coming together as one voice to demand a phase out of greyhound racing in Scotland. We are motivated by the welfare of these beautiful creatures and a desire to ensure that they are cared for and protected.
“I hope the growing weight in numbers, and the interest of the first minister, signals to the industry that its days are numbered.”