Closed petition Regulate and licence all retired greyhound kennel premises

We ask that the government introduce new legislation to protect formerly raced greyhounds by introducing kennel standards similar to those at boarding kennels, in order to enforce the AWA2006. We ask that you permit Local Authorities to licence and inspect all greyhound trainer retired kennels.

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Greyhounds have been found in dirty dilapidated out-buildings without clean water, bedding, light or heating. No animal should be left to suffer for years in conditions that breach the AWA2006. The RSPCA are a charity relying on public donations and their resources appear to be stretched. Campaign groups and rescues are left to deal with the issue. Greyhound rescues don't have the capacity to rescue every greyhound that retires each year.

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Government responded

This response was given on 3 March 2021

Defra supports high welfare for racing greyhounds, including for retired racing greyhounds, and has not ruled out legislating for welfare standards at greyhound trainers’ kennels.

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The Government is aware of the concerns that exist about welfare standards in greyhound trainers’ kennels. The Government expects high welfare standards to apply to all greyhounds, racing and retired, and has agreed with the main industry regulatory body, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), steps they need to take to ensure the welfare of all greyhounds kept at trainers’ kennels inspected by them. The Government hasn’t ruled out further regulations for trainers’ kennels, especially for trainers at the small number of greyhound tracks that operate separately from the GBGB.

The welfare of greyhounds in England, both racing and retired, is covered by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act). The 2006 Act allows action to be taken where there is evidence of cruelty to an animal or a failure to provide for an animal’s welfare needs. This includes where greyhounds, racing or retired, are kept at trainers’ kennels.

The welfare of racing greyhounds at racetracks is also covered by the Welfare of Racing Greyhound Regulations 2010 (the 2010 Regulations). A Government review of the 2010 Regulations in 2016 concluded that although they had been effective when judged against their original objectives of improving the welfare of greyhounds at the track and improving the traceability of greyhounds, the industry needed to do more to improve welfare conditions at trainers’ kennels.

In response, the GBGB agreed with Defra to work with BSI, animal welfare groups, vets, government and industry specialists to develop a BSI ‘Publicly Available Specification’ (PAS) that would set out best practice independent welfare standards for trainers’ kennels. GBGB also agreed to seek to extend their United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accreditation, which allows them to enforce the standards in the 2010 Regulations at GBGB tracks, to include the enforcement of the new independent welfare standard at GBGB trainers’ kennels.

BSI has now developed and published “PAS 251:2017 Specification for greyhound trainers’ residential kennels” and from January 2021, all GBGB trainers’ residential kennels are being audited by independent auditors as part of the process of securing UKAS accreditation. These independent inspections, based on PAS 251:2017, are in addition to GBGB’s current arrangements which include a minimum of two unannounced visits by GBGB officials each year and an annual veterinary inspection. These independent inspections take account of the welfare standards of all greyhounds kept in GBGB trainers’ kennels, including greyhounds retained by a trainer, but that are no longer raced.

There remains a small number of greyhound tracks that are not regulated by the GBGB. These ‘independent’ tracks are licensed by their local authority under the 2010 Regulations. Evidence has shown that owners of greyhounds running at independent tracks are mainly hobbyists who keep their greyhounds as pets, in and around their home, rather than in residential racing kennels. The Government is still considering whether any further legislation is needed to cover the welfare of greyhounds kept by trainers racing on independent tracks.

The Government also continues to monitor closely GBGB’s progress on delivering on its commitment to extend their UKAS accreditation to its trainers’ kennel scheme. Should further measures and protections be required for racing or retired greyhounds the Government stands ready to consider options which are targeted, effective and proportionate.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs