The Retired Greyhound Trust exists to provide homes for redundant racing greyhounds and in 2104 they ‘found homes’ for a amount of greyhounds.
The 70 regional branches are run by volunteers – many of which are located at licenced trainers kennels
The RGT recieves its funding from the bookmakers levy and in 2104 were awarded a grant x amount of pounds which funds the homing of 1 in every 4 greyhounds
hese ‘discriminated’ greyhounds amount to more than 7,000 annually and if not killed are indeed fortunate to make it to an independent rescue. More than 50% of the RGT’s funding comes from public donations and therefore the racing industry can only claim to fund for less than half of alleged 4,500 greyhounds re-homed last year.
It cost the RGT on average £640 to re-home each greyhound during 2006, a fact the industry are well aware of. Therefore, in order to ensure the re-homing of the 10,000 greyhounds presently running on their tracks, a budget of £6.4 million was needed, if the industry were to seriously address welfare. The RGT were in fact given a grant of just £1.7 million, a short fall of £4.7 million, the £1.7 million only enough to finance the re-homing of 2,656 greyhounds. Leaving yet another 7,000 plus greyhounds the industry are failing to provide for.
Not content with exploiting greyhounds for racing, once retired, the RGT continue to exploit greyhounds in their care by forcing them to supply blood. With the Pet Insurance business booming, vets can now charge hundreds of pounds for their surgical skills and services. Hardly surprising then that the canine blood banks, who are in partnership with the RGT, charge no less than £100 per pint of blood when sold on to the vets. With some RGT branches forcing up to 18 greyhounds to give each a pint of blood in one session, the whole operation is a big money spinner, yet again for the industry!
The industry’s lack of funding and responsibility means that a huge burden is placed on independent rescue centres and on the public in terms of finance and voluntary resources. The Dogs Trust’s Stray Dog survey reported that nearly 8,000 stray dogs were put to sleep throughout the UK during 2007. Without doubt, the surplus greyhounds that the racing industry produce would have surely contributed to the death of these stray dogs by taking up valuable kennel space and homes willing to take in a rescue dog.
Unlike the RGT re-homing branches, independent greyhound rescue centres are not reliant on the industry for funding and as such are afforded the freedom to educate the public and raise awareness of greyhound abuse and abandonment that is perpetuated by commercial greyhound racing, without the fear of their financial support being withdrawn. One such independent rescue, Tia Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue, have compiled a ‘Wall of Shame’ listing greyhounds that have largely been abandoned and in dreadful conditions, detailing the NGRC track they raced on. Another independent rescue centre, Greyhounds Galore, have made a video called ‘Innocence’ capturing some of the horrendous conditions greyhounds have been found in.
Whilst the rest of the country were repulsed by the exposure of David Smith slaughtering an estimated 10,000 greyhounds, Mr Ivor Stocker, Executive Director of the Retired Greyhound Trust and greyhound owner, stated “It would be fantastic if a few of those 2,000 people who have signed the petition in support of David Smith, many of whom are clearly dog lovers and have dog welfare at heart, were able to offer homes for these wonderful animals and help them live out their retirement to the fullest.” David Smith charged a fee of £10 for the slaughter of each greyhound. We would suggest that Mr Stocker cannot differentiate between someone who has their dog’s health and welfare at heart or in this case, the health of their bank balance.
Each racing greyhound earns on average £180,000 gross profit for the bookmakers. The industry chooses fit to reward these greyhounds with a pathetic pension of £170 each to ensure their welfare in retirement.