MP Wants Scotland’s Last Greyhound Racing Track Banned Amid Ireland, UK Pressures

  • MSP Mark Ruskell has called for the closure of Scotland’s last greyhound track in Fife
  • A report on greyhound racing will go before members of Scottish parliament in February
  • In September, three high-profile UK animal welfare charities called on a greyhound racing ban
  • Fife track owner refuted SAGE claims of 18,000 injured dogs and 3,000 deaths
greyhound
MSP Mark Ruskell has called for the closure of Scotland’s last greyhound racetrack in Fife, while branding the sport “barbaric [and] gambling led.” [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Last active track targeted

A Scottish Green member of parliament has upped the ante in his well–backed campaign against greyhound racing by calling for a ban on the only track in Scotland where racing still takes place.

seeking the ban on Thornton Greyhound Stadium

Glasgow’s Daily Record reported Tuesday that Mid Scotland and Fife member of Scottish parliament (MSP) Mark Ruskell is seeking the ban on Thornton Greyhound Stadium in Fife, which hosts its next race meet on January 4 or 7, weather permitting.

Ruskell spoke ahead of an imminent report on greyhound racing by the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC). The SAWC’s report will go before MSPs on Holyrood’s Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee by the end of February 2023.

Ruskell said he was looking forward to the findings of SAWC, adding that while not wanting to prejudge the report, he found it clear that “the time has come, at long, long last — to end this cruel and exploitative activity once and for all.”

Ruskell’s move follows similar recent pressure on greyhound racing in Ireland and the UK.

Sport under fire

In September, three of the UK’s most high-profile animal welfare charities, including the RSPCA, launched a campaign calling for greyhound racing to be banned.

In November, spokesperson for Ireland’s ministry of Agriculture, Disability & Social Justice, Holly Cairns, railed against greyhound racing in Ireland while addressing members of the House. Cairns expressed her incredulity that most of Ireland’s political parties supported the sport, in an address she shared via Twitter:

Cairns said that the sport was “in terminal decline” in Ireland and worldwide, and that it has “been banned in most [US] states.”

She added greyhound racing is “a cruel industry that has no place in modern society.”

a barbaric, gambling led sport”

Ruskell’s comments cited on Tuesday echoed those of Cairns. “Greyhound racing is and always has been a barbaric, gambling led sport that leaves dogs facing cruel and unnecessary risk, and even death,” said the MSP.

Owner hits back

According to the Record, the owner of Scotland’s last greyhound racing track, Paul Brignal, said it was “utterly ludicrous […] the Scottish government were being being told that we are the epicentre of cruelty against dogs in Scotland and must be shut down.”

once we’re gone there will be nothing”

“We have people coming from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ayr, Dundee, all over. But once we’re gone there will be nothing. That is lamentable because the dogs that race here are well looked after and they love their sport.”

Brignal also refuted Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation (SAGE)’s assertion that there are 18,000 injured dogs and 3,000 deaths, stating “we only have around 70 dogs left in racing.”