A new deal worth around £3m ($3.8m) will go toward caring for thousands of racing greyhounds this year in a bid to boost their welfare, according to the UK’s minister for sport.
- The agreement took effect from January 1, 2019
- British Greyhound Racing Fund to increase to £10m ($12.7m) a year
- William Hill, Betfred, and Paddy Power Betfair have agreed to contribute
Improving welfare of racing greyhounds
Mims Davies, the minister for sport, said that some of Britain’s biggest bookmakers have agreed to make the additional voluntary payment.
They include Betfred, William Hill, Sky Betting and Gaming, and Paddy Power Betfair. Ladbrokes-Coral, Bet 365, and Jennings Bet made previous commitments. On January 1, 2018, Ladbrokes-Coral and Jennings Bet began making their contributions.
According to a press release from the U.K.’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media, & Sport, the extra £3m will go toward new training for veterinary staff, more homes for dogs when they retire, and an increase in the injury recovery scheme, with increased funding for the Greyhound Trust. Every year, the organization finds homes for over 4,000 greyhounds.
The additional funding will also be used to increase safety across the country’s 21 licensed racetracks, improvements to kennels, and air-conditioning for the trainers’ vehicles.
Davies said: “I am delighted to have reached an agreement with leading operators to ensure the welfare of our greyhounds is protected and improved through this fund. As the sixth most watched sport in Britain, it is clear that the welfare and care of all racing greyhounds, from registration to retirement, must be a fundamental part of its successful future.”
The agreement took effect January 1, 2019, and is expected to help increase funding to the British Greyhound Racing Fund to around £10m ($12.7m) a year.
Joe Scanlon, chair of the British Greyhound Racing Fund, added: “With this deal, the BGRF will be close to full support from all the major retail and online operators and it will provide a firm basis for delivering the enhanced welfare and integrity provision the sport of greyhound racing expects.”
Attitudes are changing
For many, this is a step in the right direction for improving the welfare of racing greyhounds for years to come.
It also signals how attitudes are swiftly changing about how people view animal-related sports. A report last November suggested that people want to see the end of horse and dog racing, which have been popular sports for years.
The report noted that the number of animal racing tracks in the U.S. has seen a steady decline over the last couple of decades. In addition, during the November midterms, 69% of Florida voters favored a ban on greyhound racing. The state’s 11 greyhound tracks will have to close before January 1, 2021.
The change in attitude has also been seen in the Australian state of New South Wales, which was close to introducing a dog racing ban in 2016, and in the U.K. there has been increasing pressure on whip racing.
These are just a few examples, but it shows that views of these sports are changing and that more needs to be done for animal-related sports. The extra funding from Britain’s bookmakers goes part of the way toward accomplishing this goal.