Animal Doping and a Lack of Regulation
According to Sky News, campaigners in Scotland are reviving proposals to prohibit greyhound racing in the country, citing the races’ negative impact on animal health and a lack of proper oversight.
Due to a lack of legislation to protect the animals from injury and doping, activists from Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation (SAGE) petitioned the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee to declare a blanket ban on greyhound racing.
Drug testing is done at the country’s regulated track, Shawfield Stadium in Rutherglen near Glasgow, according to them, but only in about 2% of the races.
Thirteen of the dogs tested positive for doping at the racetrack between 2018 and 2019, with five of them testing positive for the Class A drug cocaine. However, doping was often not detected for several months by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) and went unreported to police and the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), indicating a lack of regulation.
Between 2017 and 2020, more than 3,000 dogs died and an estimated 18,345 canines were injured in UK greyhound racing, according to GBGB figures. However, because there was no regulation at Scotland’s other greyhound racetrack, Thornton in Kirkcaldy, Fife, the true death toll was higher. Because there is no veterinarian on site, if a dog sustains a severe injury, it cannot be euthanized right away.
More than 130,000 people signed a petition to put an end to greyhound racing in Scotland, which was backed by Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell, who publicly claimed that the sector was “beyond reform.”
Ruskell further contended that the duty imposed on animal owners by The Animal Welfare Act 2006 to safeguard their animals from suffering did not go far enough to protect greyhounds from damage.
Animal Welfare Is ‘Priority One.’
Greyhounds require significantly more protection than domestic dogs in the UK, according to GBGB’s chief executive Mark Bird, who also noted that the welfare of the animals is a top priority in licenced greyhound racing.
He went on to say that each greyhound is examined by a veterinarian before and after the race, and that their trainers’ kennels are subjected to frequent “inspections by vets, stipendiary stewards, and independent auditors” to ensure that they are meeting welfare standards.
There are also strong anti-doping regulations in place, with any violations resulting in a lifelong suspension for trainers, while all incidents are reported to the proper authorities, according to Bird.
Before moving forward with the petition, members of the committee would seek clarification on regulatory enforcement from relevant parties, including the Animal Welfare Commission.
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