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The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) Managing Director, Mark Bird, has reaffirmed the standards body’s contribution to greyhound welfare, celebrating the introduction of a proposed Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) programme.
The MD welcomed the BGC’s latest decision that all members who gamble on greyhound racing will contribute into the British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF), which will create an extra £1 million for the sport to fund welfare services.
Reliant on voluntary donations
Since the Greyhound Board of Great Britain spends 75 percent of its own money on securing the safety of competing dogs, the sport is reliant on the ‘voluntary donations of BGC participants’ to keep the promises made in the Greyhound Commitment.
Bird said: “Greyhound welfare is very much at the heart of our sport and it is imperative we uphold the highest standards to ensure the future survival and prosperity of British greyhound racing. Put simply, without happy, healthy and well-cared for greyhounds, we have no sport.”
Injury Recovery Scheme (IRS)
Bird has mentioned the Injury Recovery Scheme (IRS), which is one of the Greyhound Commitment’s main programmes that seeks to offer financial support for injuries suffered at GBGB racetracks.
Since the scheme’s inception in 2018, over 600 greyhounds have benefited from it, and Bird has stated that this operation will continue thanks to the current stream of funding from BGC supporters.
In addition, the programme seeks to discourage career-ending accidents from escalating to life-threatening stages, helping retired competing greyhounds to enjoy longer and healthy lives.
The Greyhound Retirement Scheme (GRS) has contributed £400 bonds on each newly-registered greyhound, which are released when the dog reaches an authorised homing centre and are purchased directly by owners and the GBGB.
1,000 greyhounds benefit from the programme
The GRS funds are used to kennel, cook, and care for aged greyhounds before they can be placed in a stable environment. Since September 2020, over 1,000 greyhounds have benefited from the programme, and are either being cared for in 120 GBGB-approved centres or in a new home.
Bird concluded his statement by saying: “As well as ensuring the sport is run with integrity, safeguarding greyhound welfare will always be a priority for us. We are therefore very grateful for the extra funding from BGC members.
“There is, however, always more we could and should be doing and I look forward to maintaining a constructive and positive relationship with all BGC members so that we can continue to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our racing greyhounds, thereby guaranteeing the future prosperity of our sport.”
Bird’s decision came after the BGRF unveiled a new relief programme last week, pledging 1.1 million in aid to greyhound racing, including an emphasis on homing, handler assistance, and daily welfare reviews.