Greyhounds usually reach their peek at the age of three. The career will usually last between two and three years. Injuries are occasional with some more serious may even shorten this already short career
As qualified vet must ascertain the Greyhound is fit each time the dog sets foot on the track. Other rules ascertain other aspects of the dogs life and treatment to insure its well being and safety.
The sport's national bodies in the UK (BGRB and NGRC) are also members of The Greyhound Forum. This meets regularly and is made up of all the major animal charities including Battersea, Blue Cross, Dogs Trust and the RSPCA.
The Forum drew up a Charter for the Racing Greyhound which was launched at Westminster in 2002. Many of the 16 points of the Charter are already legislated as standards required by the NGRC Rules of Racing but where they are not the sport has been working hard to achieve them. In August this year all 31 racecourses published the names of a designated welfare officer (see point ten on the Charter)
It was hoped by Forum members that the Charter might also be taken up as aspirational by those racecourses Independent of the NGRC rules.
The Charter for the Racing Greyhound
The Industry must endeavour to ensure that all racecourses have a properly funded home-finding scheme for retired greyhounds in operation. Such schemes should work closely with other welfare and charitable bodies seeking to find good homes for ex-racing greyhounds
- The registered owner and or keeper of a greyhound should take full responsibility for the physical and mental well being of the greyhound and should do so with full regard to the dogs future welfare
- All greyhounds should be permanently identified, properly registered and relevant records kept by the owner and or keeper
- All greyhounds should be fully vaccinated by a Veterinary Surgeon and provided with a current Certificate of Vaccination
- All greyhounds must be provided with suitable food and accommodation and have unrestricted access to clean fresh water
- Adequate arrangements must be made to allow for exercise and socialization
- Breeding and Rearing over-production of greyhounds through indiscriminate breeding must be avoided. Where a racing greyhound is bred from, the long term welfare of the bitch and puppies must be paramount
- Training must be conducted so as to safeguard the long term welfare of the dog
- Where destruction is inevitable, greyhounds should be euthanased humanely by the intravenous injection of a suitable drug administered under the supervision of a Veterinary Surgeon
- When transported all greyhounds should do so in safety and comfort
- All tracks should appoint a member of staff responsible for animal welfare
- A supervising Veterinary Surgeon must be present whenever greyhounds are raced at tracks
- Tracks and kennels must be designed and maintained to ensure the highest welfare standards for the racing greyhound
- Greyhounds must only race if passed fit by a Veterinary Surgeon immediately prior to racing
- Greyhounds must be entitled to receive emergency veterinary care if injured
- Drugs which may affect the performance of a greyhound when racing should not be permitted