Racing Dog Protection Act (RDPA-UK):

An official proposal to outlaw betting on dog racing in the UK.
Endorsed by:

The Act


'In both the fighting and (greyhound) racing contexts, animals are exploited, abused, and ultimately killed solely for the sake of entertainment.’
Animal Law [Vol 7:175]
Violence to greyhounds begins at birth when litters are culled and continues right through to retirement of young dogs deemed too slow to race. The similarities with animal fighting sports such as cockfighting, bullfighting and dogfighting – all forms of entertainment that are banned in the United Kingdom – are undeniable.

The only difference is that greyhounds
are killed behind the scenes rather than as

'Commercial greyhound racing is an industry driven by financial profit and entertainment, largely at the expense of the welfare of greyhounds. There are inherent characteristics of commercial greyhound racing that are simply incompatible with animal welfare
WSPA letter of support for Racing Dog Protection Act

has been created to protect racing dogs because current animal protection legislature is failing to do so. The RDPA therefore, circumvents the animal protection laws and addresses the root cause of the problem, namely the industries requirement to make a profit. By banning betting the requirement to make a profit is removed.

Other countries which have taken a similar step, such as Germany, Belgium and Switzerland, allow greyhound racing to continue but the end result is vastly different to that which we see in the UK. Dogs are kept as pets and raced only as a hobby. As a result they are treated well and only a small number are bred in order to replace dogs which die of natural causes.

The popularity of greyhound racing has declined significantly and looks set to continue to decline. However, despite the closure of a number of tracks, accounts of animal abuse and neglect in the surviving racing figuration have expanded. Given the precarious financial position in the surviving greyhound racing industry it is unclear where any additional funding for welfare can be found.

On November 4th 2008 the electorate in Massachusetts voted in favour of the Greyhound Protection Act which means that as of 2010 all betting on greyhound racing will be banned. This effectively means the end of the cruel exploitation of greyhounds in this state. It is the first time that a commercially successful greyhound racing industry has been forced to close down through political action. It puts a completely new light on the future activities of similar campaigns around the world.

It follows on the back of Maine (1993), Virginia (1995), Idaho (1996), Washington (1996), Nevada (1997), North Carolina (1998) and Pennsylvania (2004) in making dog racing illegal. A campaign group in New Hampshire are currently pushing for a ban in their state.


‘The solution for greyhounds is neither further regulation of dog racing nor adoption of retired dogs, but rather elimination of the greyhound racing industry.
Stetson Law Review [Vol. XXXII]
The greyhound racing industry has been falling into disrepute for a number of years. Following the revelations at Seaham, where it was alleged that as many as 10,000 healthy greyhounds were killed, public discontent reached an all time high. Subsequent changes made by the industry and those currently proposed by Defra do nothing to address the fundamental problems of abuse and unnecessary loss of life.


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