The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has reiterated its commitment to the welfare of the competing animals involved in the sport, specifically with regards to track preparation.
Although greyhound racing has been surpassed to an extent as a betting product by horse racing and football, it remains a popular pastime in the UK and elsewhere, with over 19 stadiums active year-round across Britain.
Additionally, the sport remains a popular product in retail betting shops, where both punters and bookmakers will be familiar with the dedicated section of most betting shops to the Racing Post’s greyhound section, whilst operators such as BresBet – the newly formed Sheffield-based sportsbook – have made greyhound racing a core focus of their activities.
Central to the continuation of the pastime as both an active sport and a betting product, however, is the maintenance of stringent animal welfare checks, best exemplified in the UK by the GBGB’s Greyhound Commitment.
This commitment has seen the GBGB and its associated race tracks, trainers and owners – among other key stakeholders – establish a number of criteria to adhere to in order to maintain the safety and welfare of competitive greyhounds.
In a recent blog post – released with an accompanying video – the organisation’s Track Liaison Officer, Mark Peacock, outlined how greyhound racetracks can be best prepared ahead of meetings to minimise injuries to the dogs involved and ensure the highest standards of welfare.
“Overall, my review so far is that the tracks are doing a very good job with the equipment, budget, and materials currently available to them,” Peacock explained in the blog post.
“There is, however, more that they each could be doing. With the launch of GBGB’s Welfare Strategy on the horizon next year, I believe that now is as good a time as ever to explore new and innovative approaches to track preparation and maintenance to see if we can make our tracks even safer for the dogs.”
Bringing his knowledge from horse racing, Peacock observed that greyhound racing can learn from elite sports such as football and rugby with regards to injury prevention, while praising the introduction of Verti-Drain machines at tracks, which ‘improve the overall health of the sand and ultimately making it safer for the dogs’.
He further detailed his belief that the GBGB should investigate the potential benefits of different materials used in track construction, noting that supplies of silica sand – which the video explained creates a high quality, consistently level and safe surface for greyhounds to run across – are beginning to decline.
“There is certainly lots to explore and, as we do, I will be working closely with all GBGB licensed stadia to further build on their safety standards so their greyhounds can continue doing what they love,” he concluded.