Skip to main content

Greyhounds: Animal Welfare

Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 23 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is for improving greyhound welfare; and if he will make a statement. (177346)

The Government are committed to introducing new regulations under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to help safeguard the welfare of racing greyhounds. In addition, the Government have made it clear to the industry that a lot needs to be done to get its house in order to help improve welfare standards for the dogs it uses in racing.

I am pleased to say that the industry has taken these demands very seriously. To facilitate much needed reform, the industry set up an inquiry under Lord Donoughue—a former Agriculture Minister—in order to establish what should be done to ensure that the industry has in place an efficient, modern and respected regulatory body. Lord Donoughue published his comprehensive report at the end of November. The Government will want to consider how the greyhound industry responds to Lord Donoughue’s review. Our hope is that the industry will make a positive and swift response to his recommendations.

There will be a public consultation on our proposals for greyhound racing before approval by Parliament. We intend to give this matter our priority, although the timing of the consultation will be dependent on the response of the industry to the recommendations made by the Donoughue enquiry.

It is already an offence under the Animal Welfare Act to destroy an animal in a manner that will cause it unnecessary suffering. In addition, the Act makes it an offence of failing to provide for the welfare needs of an animal. This will apply to owners and keepers of all animals, including racing and retired greyhounds, and will raise welfare standards throughout the dogs’ lives.