‘We wish they’d choose another living’: Billboard to highlight greyhound plight

The plight of racing greyhounds could be highlighted on a billboard outside a dog track on Mancunian Way.

Caged North West, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to end the exploitation of greyhounds, is looking to raise £6000 through a GoFundMe page.

This money will enable them to display the message on one of Manchester’s most prominent junctions over Christmas and New Year.

This will be the second year in a row that the billboard has appeared, and Rita James, who heads up the organisation, told MM that the campaign will enable people to make up their own minds.

“It’s for people to make a well-informed decision before they attend the track,” said the 42-year-old.

“We believe that everyone has the right to know the facts and then they can make their own decision about what they want to do.

“The general public aren’t aware of everything that goes on; what may be really cruel to us may not really matter to somebody else, but that’s their choice, that’s their decision.

“We’re not happy that they make that decision, but we’ve got to go along with it, we can’t force people into doing what we want them to do, and that’s not what we set out to do.”

Belle Vue Stadium, which is also used for speedway, lies to the south-east of the city, and has been open since 1926.

The Welfare of Racing Greyhound Regulations were introduced in 2010, but many have criticised it, along with the Animal Welfare Act (2006), for not doing enough to protect the dogs.

The fundraising page has raised £2200 at the time of writing, and it looks as if Caged North West will comfortably reach their target, despite inevitable opposition.

“We get people saying ‘send the money elsewhere’, or ‘what a load of rubbish’, so we’ve decided to just block comments,” said Ms James.

“We know that it does frustrate the racing industry that we put the billboards out.

“We have received phone calls from greyhound trainers saying that they’re disgusted at what we do.

“At the end of the day it’s their living, and we understand that, but we just wish they’d choose something else to make a living with rather than using animals.

“We’re not getting personal with people, we’re not out to target people, we’re just talking about the greyhound industry as a whole.

“There are so many faults with greyhound racing, there is such a lack of welfare for the animals.

“We don’t believe that the Animal Welfare Act protects the dogs whatsoever, so by people writing to their MPs and stating all the faults with the racing industry, we think these could be put forward.”

To find out more about this worthy cause or to help Caged North West reach their target, click here.

Image courtesy of Jared Wong, with thanks

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