The Retired Greyhound Trust, (RGT) is a greyhound rescue organisation which was set up by the racing industry in the 1970s, largely for propaganda purposes, due to public concern about the fate of ex-racing greyhounds.
The launch of the RGT was the equivalent of a tobacco company setting up a hospice for lung cancer victims, and many involved in the Trust, especially at a higher level, are fervent supporters of commercial greyhound racing (although many of its ordinary volunteers are good people, who care greatly for the welfare of the dogs).
The industry even goes as far as holding race nights to raise funds for the RGT and there have been occasions where dogs have been seriously injured and even "put to sleep" at these events.
Until recent years, the RGT only succeeded in finding homes for a few hundred greyhounds annually, but this figure has now gone up considerably, due to increased public awareness of the plight of greyhounds, brought about mainly through the efforts of anti-racing groups, such as Greyhound Muses.
Ironically, this increase in the numbers of dogs homed by the RGT is frequently used by the industry to claim that the wholesale slaughter of ex-racing greyhounds no longer occurs.
However, recent statements by racing industry officials amount to an admission that 20% of dogs "retiring" from the tracks continue to be put to death annually. This equals 2,000 greyhounds per year and is likely to be considerably more, given the inaccuracy of RGT figures.
As Greyhound Watch have outlined in their survey, the situation for dogs considered unsuitable for racing is far worse.
The survey covered the English Stud Book, which deals with greyhounds born in Britain. However, the great majority (almost 80%) of greyhounds racing in Britain are bred in Ireland and when this is taken into account, we are forced to come to the sad conclusion that as many as 15,000 greyhounds, bred to supply the British dog racing industry, are being put to death every year, with the majority being killed before they even reach the tracks.
On a more positive note however, due to the success of the anti-racing campaign and the decline of the industry, resulting in a reduced demand for greyhounds to be bred, this (still appalling) figure is now considerably less than it was just a few years ago.
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