BGRB bites back following Crosbie-led welfare criticism.Byline: Jim Cremin
A LEVEL of exasperation was evident yesterday at the criticism being levelled at greyhound racing by the new campaign from the League Against Cruel Sports The League Against Cruel Sports (sometimes abbreviated to LACS) is an animal welfare organisation that campaigns against blood sports such as bull fighting, fox hunting and hare coursing. , headed by its president, Annette Crosbie Annette Crosbie, OBE (born 12 February, 1934) is a Scottish character actress, best known for her many television appearances.
She was born in Gorebridge, Midlothian, Scotland, to Presbyterian parents who disapproved of her becoming an actress. .
It used to fall to Geoffrey Thomas Geoffrey Price Thomas is President of Kellogg College, Oxford and Director of Oxford University Department for Continuing Education.
Thomas was born on 3 July 1941. , former chief executive of the British Greyhound Racing Board, to reply on behalf of the sport, but his resignation last week has left something of a
However, John Haynes John Haynes (May 1, 1594 - January 1653 or 1654) was a colonial magistrate, one time governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and an eight-time governor of the Connecticut Colony.
John Haynes was born in Essex, England, a hotbed of the Puritan movement. , chairman of the BGRB's welfare committee, said yesterday: "First of all I should say Annette Crosbie is a very caring person and deserves credit for that. But some of her claims are mistaken, and she isn't the only person who cares about welfare. This committee has only been in place for a year, but has made tremendous progress. We don't want to see unhappy greyhounds, and would like a perfect environment too.
"We don't get as much publicity for what we do - which is our fault - but we do work with all the major animal charities on a body called the `Greyhound Forum'. Organisations such as the Blue Cross, National Canine Defence League, RSPCA RSPCA (in Britain) Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
RSPCA n abbr (Brit) (= Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) → SPA f
and the Dogs' Home Battersea all make constructive criticism and do recognise the positive steps forward.
"We can never afford to be complacent and never stop learning about best practice is all areas, from breeding to track preparation. We have some of the most experienced greyhound people in their fields on the committee and, for instance in updating kennels, work has progressed well and is enforceable. No grant applications from tracks will be considered by the Fund until kennels are brought up to specified standards, with particular reference to air management."
Haynes says his committee has also put in place a new scheme whereby professional trainers can apply for funding to install air management systems in greyhound transport, and has also commissioned engineers to develop a lightweight new hare carriage that maximises visibility and audibility. "This is to restrict to the bare minimum the numbers of greyhounds retired early through being unsuitable for racing."
Margaret Woodruff, secretary of the British Greyhound Racing Fund - to which off-course bookmakers are supposed to contribute 0.4 per cent of greyhound turnover - said: "I'm very annoyed with Annette Crosbie. She's been sniping from the sidelines at the sport for some time and ought to be better-informed in terms of the hard work that hundreds of people are doing for greyhound welfare, which includes the Fund, and the BGRB BGRB British Greyhound Racing Board (UK) welfare committee.
"She seems to be pretending this doesn't happen, and I'd call on her to work with the sport, not against us. She has a huge profile - she could use her name for positive benefit - but instead seems to be heading in a dangerous direction in terms of her links with an association against `cruelty'."
Woodruff yesterday announced three new grants of pounds 23,750 (Hove Hove (hōv), city (1991 pop. 65,587), East Sussex, SE England. It is a modern residential seaside resort. ), pounds 18,425 (Milton Keynes) and pounds 19,180 (Swindon), all for track kennel improvements.
She added: "There seems to be little acknowledgement of the pounds 600,000 allocated by the Fund in this area to bring all tracks up to an improved and agreed standard.
"The Fund also gives the Retired Greyhound Trust pounds 600,000, and a total pounds 2m, 40 per cent of our annual budget, goes towards welfare-related issues. Yet you get the impression we're against welfare, or that certain individuals are the only ones who really care."
Incidentally, Woodruff was delighted to confirm that she has been informed that Fred Done is to resume payments to the Fund. "Mr Done runs Britain's sixth largest bookmaking company and this is fantastic news," she added. Dones had halted payments after criticising the NGRC and the sport generally over the Sunderland coup when the track surface was believed to have been manipulated.
Margaret Woodruff Angry response