SBC News GBGB’s Mark Bird reiterates commitment to greyhound welfare

GBGB’s Mark Bird reiterates commitment to greyhound welfare

Mark Bird, Managing Director of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), has confirmed the standards body’s commitment to greyhound welfare, welcoming the launch of a new Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) initiative.

The MD praised the recent announcement that all BGC members taking bets on greyhound racing will pay into the British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF), generating an additional £1 million for the sport to fund welfare programmes.

As 75% of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s own funding is directly spent on ensuring the welfare of competing dogs, the sport relies ‘heavily on the voluntary contributions of BGC members’ in order to ensure its pledges laid out in the Greyhound Commitment are met.

“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,’ Bird commented.“Put simply, without happy, healthy and well-cared for greyhounds, we have no sport.”

Bird also highlighted the Injury Recovery Scheme (IRS), one of the primary initiatives of the Greyhound Commitment, which aims to provide financial assistance to the treatment of injuries sustained at GBGB racecourses.

So far, nearly 600 greyhounds have received support from the scheme since its launch in 2018, and Bird has outlined that this service will continue thanks to the new source of funding from BGC members. 

Additionally, the initiative works to ensure that career-ending injuries do not progress to becoming life-threatening, enabling former competitive greyhounds to enjoy longer and healthier lives.

Building on this, the Greyhound Retirement Scheme (GRS) has contributed £400 bonds – paid jointly by owners and the GBGB – to each newly-registered greyhound, becoming unlocked when a dog enters an approved homing centre.

The GRS funds pay for kennelling, feeding and caring for retired greyhounds until a suitable home can be found for them. Over 1,000 greyhounds have benefited from the scheme since September 2020, and are now being cared for in 120 GBGB-approved centres or in a new home altogether.

Concluding his statement, Bird said: “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 announcement follows the launch of a new relief package last week by the BGRF, committing 1.1 million in funding towards greyhound racing, focusing on homing, the provision of assistance to trainers and regular welfare checks.

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