Earlier this year, I visited Almost Home Dog Rescue in Mold, Flintshire and was shocked to learn of the truly heinous suffering which greyhounds are subjected to as a result of being raced for sporting entertainment. Almost Home have taken nearly 200 greyhounds into their care since 2018 which reflects the scale of the problem here in Wales.
It has been reported that thousands of these lovely and friendly dogs are culled every year for reasons such as ‘not being fast enough’. Many of the dogs who end up in rescue centres have sustained serious injuries from being forced to participate in the racing industry.
Because racing greyhounds have their ears tattooed, there have been instances of greyhounds having their ears cut off before being abandoned in order to avoid identification and tracing. I also met greyhounds who had required leg amputations, made necessary because of racing injuries.
359 greyhounds were killed in 2021 – that’s nearly one death every day.
As a dog owner myself and as a result of my visit to Almost Home, I joined Hope Rescue’s campaign to ban greyhound racing in Wales. Their campaign has been incredibly successful – the Senedd petition calling for the banning of greyhound racing was signed by a staggering 35,101; one of the largest and most popular petitions in the history of the system.
Earlier this year, I wrote to the Guardian to repudiate claims made in the newspaper by the greyhound lobby, using my platform in the newspaper to call for the banning of greyhound racing: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/jun/21/greyhound-racing-is-morally-unjustifiable-it-should-be-banned
I have also written to Lesley Griffiths MS, the Minister for Rural Affairs, calling for the Welsh Government to ban greyhound racing in Wales. You can see my letter here: https://www.carolynthomas.wales/wp-content/uploads/sites/991/2022/11/Letter-to-Lesley-Griffiths-Banning-Greyhound-Racing.pdf
The petition shows that there is huge popular support across Wales for a ban on greyhound racing. Now, it is the job of the Senedd to represent that support and implement a legislative ban.
In order to achieve that, I have been working cross-party with Jane Dodds MS (Welsh Liberal Democrats) and Luke Fletcher MS (Plaid Cymru) to push the Welsh Government to adopt a ban. We hope that by working together we can represent the wide-ranging support which is evident across the country.
In doing so, we must be willing to stand up to vested interests – the greyhound and gambling lobbies are powerful and well-financed, but they are morally and ethically out of touch.
The idea of using animals for sport and entertainment is an anachronism that belongs in the past. As a politician, I recognise the responsibility I have to help in ensuring that this cruelty is relegated to history. Because fundamentally, greyhound racing is a punishing spectacle and one that I will do everything within my power to see expunged from the Welsh sporting landscape, for good.