We were recently delighted to hear the wonderful news that Shawfield Stadium, the last licensed greyhound racing track in Scotland, is set to be demolished! This follows years of campaigning by grassroots organisations for the stadium to be shut down.
OneKind have long rallied behind these efforts and urged for a full greyhound racing ban in Scotland, which sadly still occurs on the unregulated Thornton ‘flapper’ track in Fife.
Campaign work paid off
For several years, campaigners and supporters of Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation protested outside Shawfield Stadium calling for its closure. Campaigners were often joined by their rescued greyhound companions who experienced first-hand the cruelty and exploitation of being forced to race for entertainment.
Back in 2019, our Campaigner Eve joined SAGE’s protest outside the stadium, alongside her rescued greyhound Bob. The protest garnered national media attention, receiving coverage by the BBC.
At the time, national calls for greyhound racing to be banned started to escalate, after the Greyhound Board of Great Britain published data on greyhound deaths and injuries for the first time.
It was shockingly revealed that almost 1,000 greyhounds died in 2018, not including the hundreds of individuals who were euthanised at the end of their racing ‘career.’ In addition, that year saw 4,963 injuries sustained by raced greyhounds.
Urging for a full ban on greyhound racing
While the closure of Shawfield Stadium is monumental, a full ban on greyhound racing is needed to eradicate this exploitative ‘sport’ from Scotland and the UK for good.
Last year, we supported petitions led by two separate grassroots organisations, Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation (SAGE) and Alliance Against Greyhound Racing, calling for a ban. We also submitted evidence to the Scottish Parliament on the issue.
There is just one remaining unregulated ‘flapper’ track left in Scotland – Thornton stadium in Fife. Subject to no regulations or scrutiny, flapper tracks have no vet present, and no record of injuries and deaths, the dogs that are raced, how often they are forced to race and who is racing them.
The pressure is on for the track to close, with MSPs like Mark Ruskell raising the issue in Parliament, and the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission and Scottish SPCA calling for its closure.
An end in sight for greyhound racing in Scotland?
There is hope for greyhound racing to finally be banned in Scotland, with some recent progress made in the Scottish Parliament earlier this year.
In April, the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee hosted an evidence session on Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation’s petition to put an end to greyhound racing in Scotland.
Amongst the issues raised in the evidence session were concerns over the number of greyhound injuries and deaths, the psychological damage that is commonplace in rescued greyhounds and the unregulated ‘flapper track’ in Fife.
The RAINE Committee will consider next steps once it has heard back from a range of stakeholders that they have contacted. In the meantime, OneKind will continue to push for a complete ban on this cruel ‘sport’.