As Britain basked in a mini heatwave earlier this week, Greyhound racing continued to take place despite Tuesday being the hottest day of the year so far.
The RSPCA and campaign group Greyt Exploitations have raised their concerns with The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), the governing body for licensed Greyhound racing. On Tuesday 19 July temperatures reached 31C at Perry Barr Stadium in Birmingham but races continued from 11am until 2pm. The next day Hall Green Stadium began racing at 11am when the temperature had already hit 26C and climbing.
In a statement the RSPCA said, "The RSPCA contacted Duncan Gibson, The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) Manager of Welfare and Integrity Services yesterday (19 July) to share our concerns about the welfare of greyhounds being transported and raced in hot weather. Other countries which race greyhounds have in place hot weather policies and it is our expectation that the same approach should apply to both independent tracks in this country and those regulated by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain. The RSPCA will be contacting the industry making a strong recommendation that a hot weather policy is put in place to safeguard greyhound welfare."
In response, GBGB have republished their advice for trainers and stadiums, which includes transportation of the Greyhounds and that the duty vet must inspect each greyhound, before and after racing to check for signs of heat stress.
Greyt Exploitations argues that the decision to call off an event should be the decision of a qualified vet. Currently the Track Vet can withdraw a dog from a race if they deem them unfit to run, and they are recommended to inspect the track's running surface and associated equipment, but can only advise the Local Stewards of his/her concerns.
Trudy Baker of Greyt Exploitations said, "The vet is best qualified to assess if the weather conditions could adversely affect the dog's health and he/she should have the authority to call off a meeting if in his/her professional opinion the heat could cause the dogs to suffer. Greyhound racing is a highly profitable business and again we see commercial decisions being made to protect the bookmaker's profits - rather than the Greyhounds."
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