An Insight into the Greyhound Racing Industry

Greyhound Action Fact sheet 1:
Greyhound Action

All the information below is either based on figures produced by the greyhound racing industry itself or on statements made by individuals who have worked either in the industry or in greyhound rescue.

Tens of thousands of dogs are disposed of every year by the British greyhound racing industry – because they fail to make the grade as racers or when their racing days are over.

About 25,000 greyhound pups are registered every year in the British Isles. The number bred is actually many thousands more than this,when taking into account pups that never get registered and those killed by breeders at a very young age.

Although most of these dogs are bred in Ireland, the majority are produced to supply the demands of the British greyhound racing industry.

Thousands of greyhound pups and young dogs are put to death because they fail to reach racing standards. We estimate that over 10,000 are killed annually in the British Isles.

Dogs which actually make it to the track are very likely to experience suffering during their racing careers. It has been estimated that greyhounds running on British tracks sustain more than 12,000 injuries every year and that 10% of dogs that race are already suffering from injuries. Injured toes, torn muscles, strained tendons and arthritic joints are commonplace.

At least 10,000 greyhounds “retire??? from racing in Britain every year, at an average age of just 2½ years old. This is either because of injury or because they are adjudged to be no longer good enough to race.

Very few of these dogs manage to find good homes. This is hardly surprising, given a situation where many thousands of ordinary dogs are put to sleep every year because no homes are available for them.

The British greyhound racing industry has admitted that 500 – 1,000 retired greyhounds are put to death every year. This alone would be enough to justify a ban on greyhound racing, but the true figure for retired dogs killed is, sadly, far, far higher. Quite possibly as many as 6,000.

Many ex-racing greyhounds are simply abandoned and a large number are killed, sometimes by extremely cruel methods such as drowning or poisoning, because some owners and trainers are not prepared to pay the cost of having them put to sleep by a vet.

We are receiving an increasing number of reports of trainers shooting dogs when their racing days are over.

We don’t wish to suggest that everyone involved in greyhound racing is cruel or insensitive. There are some “owners??? and trainers who love their dogs and take good care of them for the whole of their natural lives. But this only applies to a small minority of the thousands of dogs which enter racing, and thousands more are put to death before even reaching that stage.

Every year many hundreds of “unwanted” greyhounds are shipped to Spain (click here for more info on greyhounds in Spain) to be kept for racing in appalling conditions or used for hunting and coursing. Dogs which turn out to be no good for hunting are often brutally disposed of, with hanging being a favourite method.

The only way to prevent the massive suffering and killing of greyhounds caused by the greyhound racing industry is for greyhound racing to be abolished.

It is interesting to note that this has already happened in the USA, where six states have banned greyhound racing since 1993. In the meantime it is important that people avoid attending or betting on greyhound racing, so that it gradually comes to an end through lack of finance and support.

Greyhound Action, PO Box 127, Kidderminster, DY10 3UZ

Tel: 01562 745778 Fax: 0870 138 3993

Reproduced with the kind permission of Greyhound Action. For more information, please visit