Anti-racing protests are set to continue at Henlow Greyhound Stadium after their last demonstration was met by a counter-protest group supporting dog racing.
During the last protest in February, the animal rights group Shut Down Henlow Greyhound Stadium, held banners up with slogans ‘You Bet They Die’ and ‘Dogs Are Killed Here’, whilst the the counter-protest group brought along retired greyhounds and held signs with statements including ‘You Bet They Love To Run’ and ‘Loved From Cradle to Sofa’.
The anti-racing protests are organised nationally by the group Campaign Against Greyhound Exploitation and Death (CAGED) who claim the greyhound industry is inherently cruel.
Rita James, founder of CAGED said: “We have a problem with the industry as a whole as we don’t believe that regulations are enforced as it is a self regulated industry.
“Also, because of the number of greyhounds bred for racing means that when they retire, it’s simply unrealistic to rehome all of them.”
Henlow Stadium promoter, Kevin Boothby, recently reached an agreement with rescue kennel owner Johanna Beumer to exclusively rehome Henlow racing dogs after overseeing an increase in the amount of racing taking place at the Bedfordshire track.
Speaking to the industry newspaper, the Greyhound Star, Mr Boothby said: “Traditionally, we have never had a major homefinding issue here because so many of our runners are owner-trained, but the extra fixtures mean we have to plan for the future.”
Kelly Winderbank, an assistant trainer at the stadium who looks after 56 racing greyhounds, believes attitudes in the industry have changed over the years. She said: “I started off as an anti, holding banners on the other side of the fence but I realised that I didn’t know anything about the greyhound industry, I didn’t even own a greyhound.
“15 years ago there were things that I didn’t like about the industry but attitudes have changed and greyhound welfare now is massive within racing.
“Most greyhounds are now found homes when they retire and it is very unusual here for a trainer not to fix an injury.”
According to Racecourse Promoters Association data published by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee in 2016, 1,295 dogs at 22 tracks were euthanised between 2012 and 2014 – about 0.13 per cent of all raced dogs at those tracks during that period.
The next protest at Henlow will be held on the 18th March.