This morning, Neil Parish MP spoke in the Westminster Hall debate he secured on an online levy which would provide more money for racing greyhounds.
In 2016, Neil, as Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, led an inquiry into the welfare of racing greyhounds. Since then, Neil has been concerned by the lack of data, weak regulation and insufficient inspection regimes which result in the poor welfare of the racing greyhounds. The Committee recommended improvement in each of these areas – but funding is the real key to lasting improvement, which is why Neil is keen to see a statutory levy introduced, as opposed to the current voluntary levy.
Speaking outside Westminster Hall, Neil said: “It has long been my view that bookmakers profiting from greyhound racing have a responsibility to support greyhound welfare – regardless of whether they trade from the high street or online. The changes they have introduced are welcome, but there is more work to do.
“Racing greyhounds are animals – not assets. They feel pain and need love, just like any other dog. When you consider £2,500,000,000 is staked annually on watching greyhound racing – the sixth most watched sport in the UK, it is shocking to see the welfare of these beautiful breeds. More must be done to improve this.
“It is welcome the Minister wants to increase bookmaker contributions – and I join her in urging all bookmakers who have not signed up to meet the voluntary contribution to do so. However, more needs to be done, to ensure all bets placed in the UK pay their fair share.
“The voluntary system means greyhound welfare is at the whim of the bookies and can walk away from any responsibility if the industry tries to increase the levy. We therefore need a statutory levy to guarantee the welfare of greyhounds.
“Ministers, not bookmakers should hold the whip-hand here.”
You can read Neil's full speech here.