Big strides in greyhound welfare over decades

I write in response to the article you published about stopping greyhound racing in Swindon. Please bear with me whilst I give you the flip side to the coin.

Greyhounds run fast. They have been used for coursing and hunting for centuries - some theories say since biblical times, as the paintings on the inside of pharoah's tombs are of greyhounds.

To get them to run safely, with their long legs and incredible athleticism, somebody came up with the idea of racing them on flat tracks, following a windsock rather than game.

That was around 1920. Since then greyhound racing has been developed with more safety built in, including very flat sand tracks. The injury rate for greyhounds running on sand tracks is far lower than in the field, and it allows them to do what millennia of DNA screams at them to do, providing for the spectator one of the most incredibly beautiful sights of nature that can be witnessed.

Around 1965, a lady trainer decided that working dogs being put to sleep at the end of their careers was unacceptable. This lady, called Molly Redpath, got a few others together and founded the Retired Greyhound Trust, which had evolved by the mid seventies.

So for the past 60 years, greyhound welfare in retirement was increasingly improved to the point where 90 per cent of dogs are now retired to a sofa. These figures are verified by the GBGB - the governing authority.

In every office, school, organisation or sport there are some bad people. That, regretfully is human nature. We in racing have tried to flush out the bad ones, largely successfully.

There are still some to go, but we probably have far fewer of these bad folks than say pet ownership has, or indeed most other businesses.

The fact is that abused athletes don't perform at their best. This is an absolute truth. The result is that greyhound trainers, who obviously want their dogs to win, treat their dogs in the best way possible to ensure they are as happy and in as good condition as possible according to their own resources.

They are fed well, massaged, played with and generally looked after like canine royalty so they can perform at their best.

Allegations otherwise are qualified by my previous paragraph, but all trainers want to win, so clearly abuse is not going to make this possible, even by the bad people. Same goes for diet.

Finally the deaths that the anti racing/animal rights people report are always historic, or not in this country, or even made up.

We see photoshop pictures etc. We report some of their claims to organs such as the ASA, and we have been successful almost 100 per cent in having some of their national adverts banned.

Pete Conway

Coombe Road


Masks of limited help

Mrs Watson has me puzzled. Does she not understand that masks may be of some limited value but only if they are worn and used properly.

Personally I feel a lot less safe now than I did when people were not wearing masks because they no longer keep their distance, constantly reuse disposable masks, invariably wearing them incorrectly and do not sanitise their hands after touching them.

This is not protecting me or anyone else and neither does it encourage me to go out.

I now avoid all shops except for my food shop whereas previously I was happy to go out.

Amanda Dingle

Ipswich Street