Rita James – A Night at the Dogs

 Rita James a night at the dogs CAGED Live Encounters Magazine Volume Two December 2014

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A Night at the Dogs by Rita James, Founder C.A.G.E.D Campaign Against Greyhound Exploitation & Death

The Caged North West Greyhounds Raced to Death Campaign continues

On 01.12.14 the 96 sheet billboard (40 ft wide) will be highly visible on one of the busiest junctions in Manchester UK, where Christmas shoppers will be able to get an excellent view during slowing traffic. The billboard (above) shows the image of a falling greyhound on a race track and an additional image of a sad looking greyhound with the text. ‘GREYHOUNDS Raced to Death’. ‘Every licensed track has a freezer to store the dead dogs’. The image of the sad greyhound was kindly supplied to Caged North West by Photographer Paul Croes.

Stag and hen parties, birthday celebrations, Christmas parties and most unfortunately charity events are the few occasions where people will attend a greyhound stadium.

It is often difficult to find a venue that can cater for large parties of people and also offer cheap food and entertainment. Greyhound racing stadiums are often a quick and cheap solution for anyone trying to organise a night out with friends, family or work colleagues. The poor décor, bland food and the rowdy atmosphere is often overlooked due to the curiosity people often have when they have never observed live dog racing before.

For many, the possibility of a dog falling will not cross their minds, yet when a dog has a horrific fall, some vow never to return to a stadium again and may never be able to erase the memory from their mind. Sadly many of the dogs that do fall continue to race due to the adrenalin masking the pain, therefore spectators may not realise that the dog will be later destroyed. This is why under the rules of racing every stadium must have a freezer to accommodate dead dogs.

We are often told that the UK has some of the best animal welfare laws in the world, we tend to place our trust in these laws and therefore it is easy to make the presumption that because something is legal that it is morally correct and has been closely inspected for flaws with rules and regulations being in place to prevent any abuse.

The industry often claims that greyhounds are the most protected canine breed, but they fail to state that greyhounds are NOT protected by the primary legislation of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Greyhound racing is a business that depends on the inherent cruelty of greyhounds for profit

The welfare of the dogs is not at the forefront of this business and profit prioritises to all those who have vested interest, as with any business. Greyhound breeders, owners and trainers all un-admittedly attempt to earn a living by exploiting the dogs, management and staff may become desensitized over a period of time and investors turn a blind eye.

The government continue to rake in the taxes while attempting to appease the greyhound advocates with reviews of rules and regulations that are clearly proven to be inadequate and hardly enforced.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB)

Self- regulation continues to fail. The GBGB is NOT transparent. The GBGB have a duty to regulate as well as promote the racing industry, one action impedes on the other therefore making it impossible to do both successfully. The GBGB website is very poorly maintained resulting in disciplinary committee hearings and other information often being temporarily inaccessible. Details of dogs that are abandoned and micro-chipped are often unobtainable, as the GBGB claims they cannot reveal identity of a dog due to the details being part of the Data Protection Act.

Retirement forms; There is no current availability of data collected on retirement forms. Owners are asked to provide a completed retirement form when a dog finishes racing and is no longer of use. We believe that the details of every individual dog should be collected from these forms and made part of the freedom of information act (with the exception that we would not be able to view the owners details due to the data protection act), so there is transparency of each dog’s whereabouts or whether they have been disposed of post racing. Please click the link to see a copy of the retirement form; LINK

Injury and death data remains to be unobtainable via the freedom of information act

In addition to the dangerously configured tracks, we believe there is a lack of concern from the GBGB in cases of greyhound racing tracks being poorly managed and maintained, which results in additional deaths and numerous injuries of dogs. In particular, Romford track has recently been under deep scrutiny by greyhound trainers and owners who have viewed successions of horrific falls resulting in deaths of dogs.

Injury Data

Campaign group Greyt Exploitations has recently made excellent progress by creating a website that replicates racing incidents ‘resulting in injury to greyhounds’, from the Greyhound Board of Great Britain. This means online users will be able to view records of how many dogs have fallen at each track, the dog’s details and dates of each incident. Most importantly we shall see how many of these injured dogs have not been entered into any following races after a fall and are unaccounted for. These dogs are unaccounted for due to the GBGB failure to publicly declare what happens to these dogs. 338 incidents recorded at Romford dog track, throughout 2013. For 131 of those dogs it was their last race. Where are these dogs now? LINK

Greyhound Rescue – Exposing the industry, or protecting the industry for the sake of the dogs.

Tia is the largest greyhound rescue in the UK. Yet they are the ‘only’ rescue that records dogs who come into their care abandoned abused and neglected; Please see; The Wall of ShameLINK

It would be helpful if other rescues would also give a voice to the greyhounds and likewise publish records of neglected dogs that are in poor condition, who come into their care.

Caged North West and Greyt Exploitations Join Forces

On October 6th 2014 we placed a half page awareness advertisement in one of the UK’s most popular national newspapers ‘The Daily Mirror’. As the festive season approaches, many companies are preparing to organise Christmas events for their staff. One of our main aims is to raise awareness of the suffering of dogs behind the scenes of greyhound racing. We believe that raising mass awareness is imperative and will help enable people to make a well informed decision of whether to attend any event held at a greyhound racing track. We felt that placing a large informative advertisement in a popular national newspaper would be very effective and achieve high viewings. The Daily Mirror has a circulation of 960,567 newspapers and a readership of many more. This was our first awareness advertisement in a national newspaper and one of the first of it’s kind in the UK. We found the Daily Mirror to be a pleasure to work with, their staff members were highly efficient and we hope to use their services again in the future.

This was our first awareness advertisement in a national newspaper and one of the first of it’s kind in the UK. We found the Daily Mirror to be a pleasure to work with, their staff members were highly efficient and we hope to use their services again in the future.

CAGED North West ‘Raced to Death Bus Campaign’ was joined by Greyt Exploitations

Raced to death bus sticker

The Raced to Death Campaign hit the roads on 21st August to 25th September 2014

The campaign consisted of ‘20ft long’ superside posters being attached to 20 individual ‘First Group’ buses travelling throughout Manchester city centre and surrounding areas in the North West. The supersides were placed on the nearside of the buses, which meant maximum views and excellent awareness for the Greyhounds.

The poster demonstrates how dogs can sustain fatal injuries from falls and die on racing tracks. This particular image shows a 3 year old greyhound named Rotar Wing falling on Sunderland track. Rotar Wing broke his back and had to be destroyed shortly afterwards. This is not an isolated case, dogs often die at tracks, many continue running to the finish line as the adrenalin masks their pain.

Watch the video of Rotar Wing.

RIP Rotar Wing


Rita James, Founder, CAGEDnw – I was born in Surrey, UK in 1968. I was raised with cats, dogs and rabbits, my grandparents were farmers and my parents had both often viewed farming processes that involved cruelty to animals.

During the 70’s times were difficult, we could not pick and choose what we ate. When I was five years old I was given a meal with lamb’s kidneys. I immediately associated animal physiology with human physiology, I told myself that if an animal had similar organs then they would also have similar feelings.

I was too frightened to air my views, so I chose to quietly play with the food on my plate, my father asked me to eat and I finally mustered up the courage to say No. I was ordered to stay at the table until all my food was eaten. I sat glaring at my plate for three whole hours after my bedtime, eventually I was allowed to leave the table. Contrary to my father’s aim, this punishment was beneficial to me, it taught me how to become outspoken.

In 2006 I read about the undercover investigation into David Smith and the destruction of 10,000 greyhounds by use of the captive bolt gun, I was appalled by the outcome. I had just terminated my business of 10 years due to illness and was convalescing after surgery. I vowed that on my recovery I would help the greyhounds.

I now devote all my time to my animals and the Campaign, with age I have gained self- awareness. I achieve much more gratification from helping others, than I did running a business to enhance my own prospects.






© Rita James

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