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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 13:26 GMT
Greyhound sport 'needs to change'
Greyhound racing
Greyhounds can cover 500 metres in 30 seconds
Greyhound racing "needs to change, as horse racing has", a peer who is reviewing the sport has said.

Lord Donoghue has made several recommendations about the sport. The review follows concerns about the welfare of greyhounds.

The review proposes a new governing body, along with measures to improve greyhound welfare and better tracking of dogs.

Lord Donoghue has also recommended that injuries and their causes be monitored.

The comprehensive report has recommended the racing industry remain self-regulated "within a statutory framework", and regarding duty of care to the dogs under the recent Animal Welfare Act.

There will be a new single body, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, it will be responsible for governance, administration, finance and regulation of racing.

Crucially, the Labour peer says that welfare of the dogs has to improve: they should be registered by the time they are 15 weeks old and then tracked throughout their lives until they are rehomed.

Speaking after his recommendations were announced, Lord Donoghue said there shold be better retirement provision for greyhounds, "they should only be put down as a last result", and then by a qualified individual.

Research

He also wants research carried out to make the breed "more sturdier" and factors such as track quality and the nature and cause of injuries to be monitored, and this could mean dogs not being allowed to race until they are older than at present.

Lord Donoghue, a former farming minister and head of the policy unit at Downing Street, has been actively involved in sporting governance.

He has spent 18 months considering evidence for the review which follows a case against a greyhound owner in Seaham, County Durham, earlier this year.

It raised issues regarding racing dogs' welfare when a man was fined 2,000 for killing and disposing of retired racing dogs, which he buried on his land.

PR offensive

Greyhound racing in the UK
Greyhound racing
Started: 1926, Manchester
Spectators: 4 million a year
Total gambled: 2.9bn
Prize money: 11m

The sport is actively trying to promote racing, which is the third most popular spectator sport behind football and horse racing.

The British Racing Greyhound Board (BRGB) says that four million people a year go racing, with 2.9bn wagered with on-course bookmakers and in betting shops.

It added: "Quality restaurants, corporate entertainment facilities, private boxes and clean, well run bars is the face of greyhound racing in the new millennium."

Greyhound racing traces its origins to Bell Vue, Manchester, where it started in 1926.

The sport grew in popularity between the wars, but it fell into decline in the 1960s and 70s. There are now 30 licensed tracks in the UK.

The greyhound breed originated in Egypt, it is the only breed of dog mentioned in the Bible.



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