The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has appointed former Labour MP Angela Smith as an Independent Director to oversee its animal welfare programmes.
Smith was highly interested in animal welfare concerns during her legislative tenure, from 2005 to 2019, as a former Shadow Environment Minister.
In addition to being a member of the Shadow Cabinet, the former MP for Penistone and Stockbridge served as a Senior Member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee and contributed to a number of parliamentary groups, including Animal Welfare, Conservation, Wildlife and Game, and Wildlife Conservation.
Smith worked as the Shadow Environment Minister to promote the Labour Party’s policy on animal welfare and farming, as well as cultivate links with important animal welfare organisations.
Smith was awarded honorary life membership in the British Veterinary Association in 2015 for his services to animal welfare.
Much-needed external perspective
Jeremy Cooper, Chair of the GBGB, commented on the new appointment: “Having served as Shadow Environment Minister and on the EFRA Select Committee for a number of years, Angela is ideally placed to join our Board.
“As someone from outside the world of greyhound racing, she will bring a much-needed external perspective to our work and will ensure that we continue to operate as an objective and impartial governing body which puts the welfare of our greyhounds at the heart of all we do. I have no doubt that Angela will make an important contribution to our Board and I look forward to working with her.
“In strengthening our Board through Angela’s appointment and our forthcoming appointment of an independent Non Executive Veterinary Director, we are future proofing the governance of the sport for the opportunities and challenges ahead.”
Smith joins the GBGB as it continues to prioritise the welfare of both competing and retired competitive greyhounds as a key strategic goal, changing its Rules of Racing in April 2021 to ‘continue raising welfare and integrity standards.’
IRS and GRS projects
The GBGB has also developed the Injury Recovery Scheme (IRS) and Greyhound Retirement Scheme (GRS) projects as part of the Greyhound Commitment, which have supported over 600 injured greyhounds and rehomed a further 1,000 as of March 2021.
“As a close observer of greyhound welfare, I have been very impressed by the significant improvements made within the sport over the past few years,” Smith remarked.
“The Greyhound Commitment is clearly having a positive impact and it is very encouraging to see standards improving so rapidly. The sport rightly prioritises greyhound welfare and it is pleasing to see the progress that has been achieved.
“This is a critical moment for many grassroots sports and organisations and it is no less so than for greyhound racing. In an era of increased public awareness and scrutiny, it is more important than ever that we demonstrate the very highest standards of welfare and I look forward to playing my part in helping to secure a bright and sustainable future for licensed greyhound racing.”
The GBGB published an update on the Greyhound Commitment’s progress last month, emphasising that it had met the initiative’s eight core pledges and highlighting the success of the IRS and GRS, as well as the fact that no greyhounds were put to sleep due to an inability to rehome them for the second year in a row in 2020.