Law makers are planning a sensational bid to ban greyhound racing in Wales.
The Senedd committee is an independent body that holds Welsh government ministers to account, and also has a role to play in determining the country’s legislation.
A number of Senedd members have called for greyhound racing to be gradually outlawed – echoing the sentiments of a 35,000 strong petition calling for the sport to be banned.
There is only one active greyhound track in Wales – the Valley Greyhound Stadium in Hengoed, which hosts the Welsh Greyhound Derby each year.
But that venue could be forced to close its doors for good if the Senedd Committee have their way.
Valley Greyhounds were named in the petition raised by Hope Rescue, the charity that raised the petition calling for a ban on racing. They claim they have rescued nearly 200 greyhounds from the Valley facility since 2018, although track officials dispute that.
Malcolm Tams, the owner of Valley Greyhounds, has applied for planning permission from Caerphilly Council to expand the venue, which would suggest that racing remains popular at the track.
If he can get their facilities up to scratch, they could apply for a licence from the Greyhound Board for Great Britain (GBGB), while Tams has said he would be interested in opening a greyhound rehoming centre at the venue.
But he might not get a chance to see that through, with the Welsh government said to be ‘considering’ the recommendation of the Senedd Committee to ban the sport altogether.
There are also fears that a ban on official greyhound racing could lead to a rise in ‘flip meetings’, which are unregulated and could lead to more injured or neglected dogs.
“If you ban greyhound racing, people who still want to race greyhounds will hold flip meetings in fields, like they did years ago, and this will drive it underground,” Tams said.
“Like the whippets do now and lurchers, they don’t race on these tracks, they race in fields –there will be more injuries to greyhounds.”
The petitions committee have hinted that horse racing could also be in their crosshairs, with their report suggesting that sports ‘where animals race for the entertainment of humans’ could face tighter scrutiny.
Where Is Greyhound Racing Banned?
It would be quicker to list the countries where greyhound racing ISN’T banned.
England remains one of the world leaders for the sport, but even on English soil the sport is facing hard times with just 20 active tracks left that fall under the control of the GBGB.
Greyhound racing is technically legal in Scotland – despite there being no licensed GBGB tracks there, and in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, where there are still 17 dog tracks in active use.
There are only two active tracks in the USA (once upon a time there was nearly two-dozen), while Mexico is another nation where greyhound racing can be enjoyed albeit at only a small handful of venues.
Both Australia and New Zealand allow for greyhound racing, as do the laws in China and Vietnam.