Are Thousands of Welsh Greyhounds Being Slaughtered Every Year?

Please note that this is a very upsetting story. Thanks to ICWales for this chilling article. Healthy dogs are being killed Jul 15 2007 by...

Joy  |  Jul 18th 2007


Please note that this is a very upsetting story.

Thanks to ICWales for this chilling article.

Healthy dogs are being killed
Jul 15 2007

by James McCarthy, Wales On Sunday

FIVE ruthless killers in Wales are slaughtering hundreds of healthy racing dogs every year, according to an animal rights group.

Campaigners at Greyhound Rescue Wales say they know the identity of the executioners and have passed their names to the RSPCA, which has pledged to investigate the practise of putting down dogs who are no longer fast enough to compete.

In the big money world of dog racing, bookies annually rake in more than 2bn while the Governments coffers benefit from more than 70m. But welfare activists say little goes back into caring for dogs, many of whom are retired aged four but have another 10 years of active life .

While the killings are widely regarded as immoral, they are not necessarily illegal. Since 1997, anyone can own a bolt gun to kill animals without a licence but can be prosecuted if the animals are put down inhumanely.

Alain Thomas, founder of Greyhound Rescue Wales, said: About 500 dogs are meeting some kind of unacceptable fate here every year. GRW has been given the names of five individuals who are responsible for killing the dogs. These individuals buy large quantities of dogs from the registered sector, trial them discreetly, then keep the fastest and best one or two dogs in each batch. They dispose of the other three or four by shooting them and incinerating the bodies.”

The organisation also claims the killers make an extra living out of putting down other peoples greyhounds and lurchers at around 10 a go.

Mr Thomas said: They make money from charging other owners to shoot and incinerate their unwanted dogs. This has led to the establishment of an informal but well organised and commercially-based system to shoot and incinerate greyhounds.”

A report produced by the Assembly in 2003 found Wales was a dumping ground for dogs no longer fast enough to race on registered tracks in England.

Lorraine Barrett AM, who chairs the Assemblys All Party Animal Welfare Group, said: I have no time at all for anyone who is prepared to shoot a dog just because it is no longer needed for racing.

I would like to see those people prosecuted.

The Animal Welfare Act, which will come into effect at the end of the year, will mean that greyhound tracks will all have to have a vet in attendance. I doubt very much whether they will be able to survive having to pay to have a vet on site.

There is an issue about what will happen to greyhound racing in Wales. A lot of people would like to see an end to it. In a perfect world I would not like to see any animal used for entertainment. However I would like to see it regulated rather than go underground.”

John Rabaiotti, from Swanseas Fforestfach greyhound stadium, one of Wales two remaining and unregulated tracks, the other being Valley in Ystrad Mynach, claimed the estimates of dogs killed were exaggerated.

He said: Greyhounds tend to be picked on as it is a good story if you believe the figures, there are more dogs killed than race.

Im not saying killings dont happen because they do. But I think the figures are distorted. I dont think the problem is anything like it is quoted by animal rights organisations.

The way to deal with it is to hit the perpetrators with a lot harder penalties than have been used in the past.”

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