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Decline of the Greyhound Racing Industry

The greyhound racing industry is in severe decline as the public become aware of the cruelty and death that is an inherent part of it but which has been kept well hidden for decades. As attendances at races fall off and stadiums close down due to financial pressures, the industry is desperately doing all it can to attract new punters. They are advertising in the media and offering all kinds of temptations like free drinks and free race cards, even free meals. They are targeting businesses to get them to have their office parties at a night at the dogs. Stag nights, hen nights, all are valid targets for them. They are also claiming that they have cleaned up their act and the atrocities that have been brought into the open in recent times by the media are not now a part of their business.

Please don't believe any of their claims; the dogs are still suffering and dying just as they always have. How could it be otherwise? What are they going to do with the thousands of greyhounds that reach the end of their racing career every year? They will tell you that all the dogs go to good homes and live happily ever after but where are all these homes coming from? Anyone who has ever tried to get any animal into a sanctuary will know that they are always full with long waiting lists. They can't find homes for the dogs they already have without the addition of thousands of ex-racing greyhounds needing homes.

The industry will also try to refute our claims that greyhounds are suffering on a massive scale by telling you that they look after their dogs well because it's in their interest to do so; they want their dog to be fit and healthy so that it will be able to win races. Well at least they are admitting here that their concern is of a commercial nature, but they avoid the point that we are making entirely by saying this. We are not claiming that they don't give their dogs adequate care whilst they are in the racing kennels; what we are trying to bring to public attention is what happens to the dogs when they leave the relative safety of those kennels, when they are no longer able to race to provide money for their owners because of age or injury; when they are no longer a viable asset to the business.

We have not yet even mentioned the worst, most disgusting part of this whole issue. The vast over breeding of greyhound puppies mainly in Ireland to supply the relatively small number of dogs required by the racing industry each year. It is estimated that 30000 to 40000 puppies are produced every single year to replace the 4000 or so that leave the tracks and go to an unknown fate. What happens to the surplus? Many won't have the chase instinct and be killed at a few weeks old. Others will chase but don't make the required standard and they too will be "disposed of". Some will be sent off to Spain and other countries that have minimal or no animal welfare standards. At the end of all this sifting out will be left the 4000 that end up on the tracks in England and Ireland, until they too cease to be profitable for their greedy owners, and so the cycle continues.

Every Saturday evening many of us stand outside greyhound racing stadiums handing out leaflets to the punters going through the gates. The leaflets tell them all about how greyhounds are dying to entertain them. We hope that these people will read the leaflets, maybe the next day, and decide never to support this vile industry again. At the end of the evening we find some of our leaflets torn up and thrown on the ground but these are only a small fraction of all that we have given out. We have had people turn their car around and come back out after reading our information, vowing never to go to a greyhound race again. We have even had people donate money to our cause. We have also had abuse from the hard cases; the ones with no feeling or care for anything only money. We will never get through to these people because they are devoid of an element in their soul, something called compassion.

We will continue to stand in all kinds of weather outside the gates of the racing stadiums until greyhound racing ceases to exist in the United Kingdom and Ireland. We will also support our American friends who are having many successes in getting greyhound racing abolished there too, there are now only 6 states in USA that have live greyhound racing, and the worst by far of these is Florida. Please never support Florida by going there for a holiday. Will you also help us here in England by telling all your friends and colleagues never to support greyhound racing by having a night at the dogs. Please see my web sites for more information.

John Ratcliffe.

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