The RSPCA have kindly granted us permission to show video footage of John and Robert Freeman’s kennels who were recently prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act for causing unnecessary suffering to greyhounds.
The punishment given by the courts highlights the seriousness of this offence. Custodial sentences, a fine and an order to pay towards the RSPCA’s costs but most importantly District Judge David Cooper ordered John and Robert Freeman – ‘former’ kennel hands – be banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
In April 2008 ‘former’ trainer, Rebecca Hagger was also found guilty in a criminal court of causing unnecessary suffering to greyhounds and was subsequently banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
On five separate occasions in 2008, licensed trainers were found guilty as a result of ‘internal’ Stewards Inquiries of causing unnecessary suffering to greyhounds. Although heavily fined none of the trainers had their license revoked and all five trainers were afforded the freedom to continue to ‘care’ for greyhounds in a commercial environment where welfare will always be compromised to ensure profit margins.
These trainers should have been bought before the public courts for offences under the Animal Welfare Act. The government is allowing the self regulated greyhound racing industry to police itself as a law unto itself – THIS MUST STOP!
Please email your MP and or Defra, and respectfully request all greyhound owners and trainers should be prosecuted if suspected of causing unnecessary suffering to animals in a criminal court under the Animal Welfare Act and this must be addressed during Defra’s forthcoming Secondary Legislation consultation for racing greyhounds.
We have composed a standard letter which you can copy and paste and send to your MP and or Defra either by email or snail mail. – see below.
Please do not hesitate to edit and personalise the standard letter or compose your own but you will be limited to 4,000 words and please remember to be polite but please enclose this link to the ‘Concentration Camp’ kennel video and report.
Details of your local MP can be found here.
Email address for Defra
Please also email the GBGB and politely request they donate – to the RSPCA – the £20,000 court costs incurred by the RSPCA – a publicly funded charitable organisation who succesfully prosecuted the Freemans – criminals which were formerly licensed by the greyhound racing industry.
Standard letter for MP’s and or Defra:-
I respectfully request you ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to enforce the criminal prosecution of GBGB (Greyhound Board of Great Britain) licensed trainers in a court of law, when they are found to have caused unnecessary suffering to greyhounds.
Under section 4 (prevention of harm) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal for which you are responsible for.
The RSPCA have recently privately prosecuted two ‘former’ licensed kennel hands – John and Robert Freeman – of causing unnecessary suffering to greyhounds in their care and were consequently awarded custodial sentences and banned from keeping animals for 10 years. A full report and video can be seen here.
Similarly, in April 2008 the RSPCA also privately prosecuted Rebecca Hagger, a ‘former’ licensed trainer. Ms Hagger was ordered to undertake 200 hours community service and banned from keeping animals for 10 years. A report can be seen here.
Throughout 2008 the industry’s regulators found five licensed trainers, as a result of ‘internal’ Steward’s Inquiries, in breech of Racing Rule 174(xi), in that he/she ‘has treated a greyhound or caused or permitted a greyhound to be treated with cruelty or in such a manner as to cause the greyhound unnecessary suffering’.
An example of which can be seen here.
Although all five trainers were reprimanded and fined – none had their license revoked, allowing them to continue to breed, train and race greyhounds in their ‘care’.
These trainers should have been prosecuted in a public court and punished under UK law.
The government made over £19.4 million gross profit on greyhound racing in 2007, through the state owned Tote bookmakers. It is also estimated another £70 million is generated annually in tax through the betting industry on greyhound racing.
A number of Bookmakers voluntary contribute to the BGRF (British Greyhound Racing Fund) which is then allocated to various sectors of the greyhound racing industry. Although the disbursement of funds is budgeted by the GBGB, it is the six Bookmaker directors of the BGRF who authorise the final budgets.
The bookmakers finance and ultimately control greyhound racing – greyhound racing is owned by the gambling industry.
I hope you would agree it would be unjust for an overstretched charity such as the RSPCA to privately fund prosecutions whereby a highly profitable commercial industry which has been afforded self regulation – by this government – is failing to enforce animal welfare law to protect profits.
The local authorities monitor travel conditions for racing greyhounds whilst enforcing regulation EC No.1/2005 – welfare of animals in transport – and therefore have the capacity to monitor the welfare of greyhounds outside of transportation.
Clearly racing greyhounds are not being protected under the Animal Welfare Act.
Licensed trainers should be punished accordingly – as is the public – by an external authority, which do not have a financial interest in a declining gambling industry where welfare will always be compromised to ensure profit margins.
The government is allowing the gambling industry to police itself as a law unto itself – this must be addressed during Defra’s forthcoming Secondary Legislation consultation for racing greyhounds.