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What about the ones that don't make the grade?

The greyhound racing industry continues to panic as more and more potential punters become aware of the suffering and death that has been kept hidden from public awareness for over 8 decades. Just imagine how many beautiful, trusting greyhounds have been betrayed and disposed of in that time.

The hard cases in this vile industry are still refusing to acknowledge that their cruel pastime belongs in the dark ages of history and are now embarking on a campaign to persuade gullible members of the public that they have cleaned up their act. They would even try to make you believe that the greyhound holocaust doesn't happen and never did. (Isn't that familiar from elsewhere regarding another holocaust?)

The fact is that greyhounds are suffering and dying now just as they always have and always will until competitive greyhound racing for money ceases to exist. In a recent response to an overwhelming avalanche of articles about the racing industry, David Lipsey, the chairman of the National Greyhound Racing Board said "Less than 10,000 greyhounds are now coming into licensed racing each year. Almost 4,500 are re-homed annually by the Retired Greyhound Trust - twice as many as five years ago. Approximately a further 3,500 find homes either with their owners, their trainer or through other re-homing charities. Some of the others will continue their careers on independent tracks or will return to their native Ireland. Some are euthanased, because, for example, they are temperamentally unsuitable for re-homing or for health reasons."

Do you, as a dog lover find these statements acceptable? Firstly The RGT do not re-home 4,500 greyhounds annually. Last year they claim to have reached an all time high in re-homing 4,500, and I don't believe that 3500 are kept as pets by their owners or trainers, or homed by other charities. I am a volunteer for several "other charities" and I can tell you that we are always full up with other dogs and certainly not able to take in greyhounds who are no longer profitable to their avaricious owners. Even if you accept Lipseys' figures that leaves 1000 dogs who "will continue their careers on independent tracks or will return to their native Ireland." Have you any idea what will happen to the dogs that continue their careers on independent tracks? That's another name for the colloquial "flapping tracks." If what you have learned about the horrors of the NGRB tracks shocks you then be warned that the flapping tracks are even worse. It is from these unregulated free-for-all tracks that a lot of the stories that you have read about originate. Lipsey also states that some greyhounds will "return to their native Ireland". A different way of saying this is that they will be sent back as brood bitches or studs to spend all their days in dark kennels having litters of puppies until they are past it and then "culled", that's the nicer way of saying killed and disposed of. I wonder if Lipsey thinks that those nice breeder men keep their old brood dogs as pets! I don't think he is that naive do you? So that must mean that he just doesn't care. Finally he says that some will be "euthanased, because for example, they are temperamentally unsuitable for re-homing or for health reasons." Even if we discount all the rest of what is written above, is it acceptable to maintain an activity that results in death for healthy dogs because they are surplus to requirements and not suitable for re-homing?

We have finally arrived at the main purpose of this article which is to address the most important and best kept secret of this whole terrible business. To do so we have to return to Ireland for this is where 75% of all the puppies needed for the British greyhound racing industry come from. As you will see above, Lipsey says that less than 10,000 greyhounds are now coming into licensed racing each year. OK, how many puppies do you think are produced each year to satisfy that requirement of the industry? Well it's not 10,000 as you might have thought. The exact figures are kept well hidden and don't seem to be known by anyone except the breeders themselves, and they aren't telling, but educated estimates are in the region of 30,000 to 40,000. When the time is right the pups will be "trialed" to see if they are going to be a good racer or not. After all the sifting and weeding out is done there will be the required number that is needed by the industry, 10,000 according to Lipsey. What happens to the rest? Where do the 20,000 to 30,000 that don't make the grade go? Perhaps they are kept as pets by the nice breeders eh Mr Lipsey?

There is no doubt about it, people are starting to ask questions and demanding answers about the goings on in greyhound racing. Recent exposes by the media have uncovered secrets that have been well concealed for 8 decades. Many websites, including my own have a wealth of information that wasn't available a short time ago and the industry is feeling the results in the guise of falling attendances at all the racing stadiums. They are fighting back with claims that they have cleaned up their act and are now compassionate people who love their dogs. Do you believe that? Do you think that they have changed over the course of a couple of years from the xxx who have been exposed by the media to decent beings? Clearly the racing industry is dying but it refuses to go quietly. Until it is consigned to the history books along with the plague of London and the Nazi holocaust dogs will continue to die in vast numbers in Ireland. It is immoral to breed 30,000 living beings to supply the 10,000 needed to satisfy the selfish desire for profit of a relatively small group of exploitative individuals, and not ask questions about what happens to the rest that don't make the grade.

John Ratcliffe.

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