At Duralock, we certainly are partial to a bit of hoof-beat, but this week, we are talking paw-pounding. Greyhound racing. With greyhound tracks taking position in our portfolio, we take a look at the industry and the life of a harefooted hound. With previous experience of owning an ex-racing greyhound… I can honestly say, these dogs LOVE to run and chase small furry critters! It’s in their nature. Put these two factors together and it’s a winning combination for both the dog and the punter (if you’re lucky!).
It all Began with a Bunny
The invention of the mechanical lure sparked the widespread appeal of greyhound racing, as American entrepreneur, Owen Patrick Smith introduced the sport to the English. His original greyhound track in America, built in 1925, led the way for greyhound tracks in Britain with the debut track opening it’s doors in the July of 1926. 1700 people piled in, eager to witness the new sport and within weeks, attendance boomed as word spread of the popularity of the sport. After the war years of bleakness, greyhound racing once again shot into popularity as people celebrated their freedom and the ability to go out and enjoy themselves once again! However, this was not to last forever; with the introduction of live horse racing aired on television, people’s interests began to turn elsewhere. Despite this decline however, Britain can still boast 25 tracks across the country, which still draw in 3 million visitors a year for the traditional entertainment.
New Ventures for a Classic Sport
With data suggesting a decline in the popularity of greyhound racing, there are still possibilities of new ventures and new site proposals. One of which is proposed to be built at Towcester Racecourse, set in the middle of the horse racing course. The plans state that it is thought that 156 meetings a year will be held on the sand track (BBC News):
“The infrastructure is already here, we’ve just got to build the track.” – Kevin Ackerman, Chief Executive
However, Ackerman suggests that the only reason for this decline is because of the poor state of the current facilities which are being used. With new, attractive facilities, the venue will become a hive of activity once again and the appeal of greyhound racing will return.
Duralock Fencing for the Dogs
We have previously installed our adapted race-rail at Angle Park, a greyhound track in Australia. The same concepts applied: producing a high quality, safe and secure product. Our race-rail is fido-friendly, as the curved edges mean that when pelting it down the course, the dogs can run against the rail safely, with no injury. The inbuilt UV-protection of the white rail also meant that it was perfect for the hot sun Down Under, with no need for painting… meaning no peeling and no maintenance in the blistering heat!
It’s a Dog’s Life
As man’s best friend, many people are concerned about the welfare of the dogs in racing and call for the sport to be banned. Whilst it is true that there are individuals who mistreat animals, this is not the general case across the sport and much emphasis and attention is being paid to the welfare of the animals by the governing boards. In the event that the sport were to be banned, the following repercussions can be assumed:
‘A lot of people would lose their jobs and millions of people would lose access to a very enjoyable pastime. Worse than that, as has been seen before, banning could mean activities going underground and operating with no regulation at all – the opposite of what these protestors are trying to achieve. If greyhound racing was to be banned, what would be next? Protestors would likely just move on to try and get other activities banned as well – horse racing, farming, fishing, dog shows, pet breeding and even pet ownership…We could expect to see the end of the greyhound breed in Britain along with large scale unemployment as stadia shut and trainers and their kennel staff are forced to seek alternative employment. More importantly, as many as thirty thousand greyhounds would need to be retired at once and with rehoming schemes unlikely to be able to cope with such a large number, many greyhounds would likely be put to sleep.’ –The Greyhound Board of Great Britain
Life after Racing
Greyhound retirement age is somewhat less than the human-equivalent and after this time, many greyhounds are put into rescue centres, needing new homes to live our their twilight years. I can tell you from personal experience that greyhounds make excellent pets and companions; when I was very young, my family rescued an ex-racer. Many people are under the illusion that greyhounds require lots of exercise and are constantly active due to the fact that they are fast animals. However, this is actually not so; they are chilled creatures who like nothing more than sleeping…all day. They have short bursts of energy, which makes them the perfect candidates for short-distance racing… hardly endurance animals. Our greyhound was so gentle and calm and it is important that people realise what lovely pets greyhounds make, as they cannot race forever.
Greyhound rescue and rehoming ensures that the animals can have a life after their canine careers. If you are interested in rehoming an ex-greyhound, there are many national and local centres which can help you find the perfect pooch for you and your family. Click here to see just one!
Give it a go!
So if you haven’t been to the greyhound racing before, why not give it a go. Support the industry, the dogs who love to run and the trainers who dedicate their time to these hairy athletes!