Animal rights group protests outside Henlow Greyhound Stadium

A protester outside Henlow Greyhound StadiumA protester outside Henlow Greyhound Stadium
A protester outside Henlow Greyhound Stadium
“If this is the way we treat ‘man’s best friend’, how does this indicate how other animals are treated in our society?”

An animal rights group staged a protest at a greyhound racing event held in Henlow on Saturday (June 17).

Nine protesters representing the Bedfordshire branch of Animal Rising demonstrated outside Henlow racetrack, interacting with spectators outside the venue and holding signs and placards with messages including “Protect all dogs” and “Stop racing injuries”.

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Henlow Racing defended its treatment of dogs whilst criticising the approach of the protest group – which also halted proceedings at the Epsom Derby and the Grand National.

And it said it had issued an open invite to Animal Rising to see the standards of care at the track, but that the offer had not been taken up by the group.

The protest was part of a national day of action, with similar events taking place across the country including at Towcester, Brighton & Hove, Perry Barr and Yarmouth.

Animal Rising is calling for the ban of animal-dependent sports such as greyhound and horse racing. The latest data shows that 99 fatalities were linked to greyhound races in 2022 – 0.03% of participating animals.

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Henlow Racing has countered by highlighting welfare, retirement, and injury recovery schemes used to assist racers that are overseen by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.

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Animal Rising is planning a protest in Towcester for the Greyhound Derby Final on July 1.

Member, Ricky Oates, said: “Most people would do anything to keep their companion animals from harm, however this is not reflected in the greyhound racing industry where 200 dogs died at the tracks in 2020, with Clona Honey dying at Henlow in 2018. If this is the way we treat ‘man’s best friend’, how does this indicate how other animals are treated in our society?

“We are protesting outside this track, calling for a ban on greyhound racing, not just at Henlow, but throughout the UK, which is one of only seven countries where it is still legal.”

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Managing director of Henlow Racing, Kevin Boothby, said: “Peaceful protest is a critical aspect of any democracy. However, Animal Rising’s actions at the Grand National and Epsom Derby coupled with its intention to unlawfully disrupt this year’s Greyhound Derby at our sister venue Towcester prove it is an organisation which believes it is above the law.

“The greyhound is privileged to be the world’s most accountable dog breed. That is thanks to groundbreaking changes the sport has made as recently as January 2022 via the GBGB’s Greyhound Retirement Scheme, Injury Recovery Scheme and its all-new long-term welfare strategy. Greyhounds are subject to the highest welfare standards which far exceed requirements for any domestic pet owner in the UK.

"Our open invitation to Animal Rising to witness these standards of care remains on the table, and we remain disappointed no members have decided to engage.”