The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has enhanced oversight of its animal welfare initiatives by appointing former Labour MP Angela Smith as an Independent Director.
As a former Shadow Environment Minister, Smith was heavily involved in issues relating to animal welfare throughout her parliamentary career from 2005 to 2019.
In addition to her Shadow Cabinet position, the former MP for Penistone and Stockbridge was a Senior Member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee, as well as contributing to various Animal Welfare, Conservation, Wildlife and Game and Wildlife Conservation parliamentary groups.
As Shadow Environment Minister, Smith worked to develop the Labour Party’s policies regarding animal welfare and farming, and built relationships with major animal welfare charities.
Smith’s contributions in the field of animal welfare were rewarded in 2015 with an honorary life membership of the British Veterinary Association.
Commenting on the new appointment, Chair of the GBGB, Jeremy Cooper, said: “Having served as Shadow Environment Minister and on the EFRA Select Committee for a number of years, Angela is ideally placed to join our Board.
“As someone from outside the world of greyhound racing, she will bring a much-needed external perspective to our work and will ensure that we continue to operate as an objective and impartial governing body which puts the welfare of our greyhounds at the heart of all we do. I have no doubt that Angela will make an important contribution to our Board and I look forward to working with her.
“In strengthening our Board through Angela’s appointment and our forthcoming appointment of an independent Non Executive Veterinary Director, we are future proofing the governance of the sport for the opportunities and challenges ahead.
Smith joins the GBGB as the organisation continues to prioritise the welfare of both competitive and former competitive greyhounds as a key strategic objective, amending its Rules of Racing in April 2021 in order to ‘continue raising welfare and integrity standards’.
Furthermore, as part of the Greyhound Commitment, the GBGB has launched the Injury Recovery Scheme (IRS) and Greyhound Retirement Scheme (GRS) initiatives, which have supported over 600 injured greyhounds and rehomed a further 1,000 as of March 2021.
“As a close observer of greyhound welfare, I have been very impressed by the significant improvements made within the sport over the past few years,” Smith remarked.
“The Greyhound Commitment is clearly having a positive impact and it is very encouraging to see standards improving so rapidly. The sport rightly prioritises greyhound welfare and it is pleasing to see the progress that has been achieved.
“This is a critical moment for many grassroots sports and organisations and it is no less so than for greyhound racing. In an era of increased public awareness and scrutiny, it is more important than ever that we demonstrate the very highest standards of welfare and I look forward to playing my part in helping to secure a bright and sustainable future for licensed greyhound racing.”
Publishing an update on the progress of the Greyhound Commitment last month, the GBGB emphasised that it had met the eight core pledges of the initiative and highlighted the success of the IRS and GRS, adding that no greyhounds were put to sleep due to an inability to rehome them for the second consecutive year in 2020.