Alison Johnstone Back to


21 September, 2017 - 00:00

Alison has joined local campaigners and leading animal welfare charity OneKind, in calling for a halt to plans to open a new greyhound racing track in Wallyford, East Lothian.

In March, plans for a car park and 94 ‘high end’ houses to enable development of the stadium, at the site originally identified for business use, were approved by councillors after an application for development was rejected in 2011, with that decision overturned by the Scottish Government on appeal.

Alison said:

“Successive reviews and attempts to regulate the greyhound racing industry south of the border have failed to establish essential protections for dogs, and I am concerned that animal welfare concerns appear not to have been given sufficient consideration by those granting permission for development in Wallyford.

“Questions also need to be asked about the scrutiny given to claims of job creation in a greyhound racing industry facing rapid decline across the UK.”

In the time since plans were approved, a number of tracks have closed in the UK, including Birmingham and Wimbledon, while gate numbers at Belle Vue in Manchester have fallen dramatically. Independent racing tracks at Gretna and Armadale have also closed recently.

Animal welfare charity OneKind said of the proposals:

“Fewer and fewer people accept that sentient animals should be used in a sport where they are vulnerable to injury, where much of their time is spent confined in kennels, and where they face an uncertain future once they have to retire at three or four years old.

“Without an independent regulator, the mandatory publication of track-level injury data, a central database for tracking dogs throughout their lives, plus a requirement to rehome racing greyhounds, the best solution would be for the industry to be phased out.

“OneKind has consistently opposed the development at Wallyford and there is even less reason to approve it now, 16 years after it was first mooted. Greyhound racing is a sport in decline, and for good reason.”