IT IS a sad fact that many greyhounds applauded on the track meet an untimely end when their racing days are over.

The RSPCA believes that all greyhounds – which generally make excellent pets – should have the opportunity of retirement to a home that will give them a good quality of life for the remainder of their natural life span. The Society thinks this should be financed and managed by the greyhound racing industry rather than depending on charity.

In fact, all aspects of welfare within the greyhound industry, from breeding and transportation to handling, racing and retirement, and final euthanasia need to be comprehensively improved.

A report by the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) in 2007 found that a minimum of 13,500 greyhounds, bred for racing, are considered ‘surplus’ to the industry in England and Wales each year.

And nearly 5,000 greyhounds in England are unaccounted for each year – these are presumed to be killed by the age of three or four when their racing days are over. The average life span of a greyhound is around 14 years.

Defra plans to introduce secondary legislation on greyhound racing and has launched a public consultation.

The deadline for submissions is July 22, 2009.

The RSPCA, along with other welfare groups is asking the public to help in supporting calls for independent regulation.

If you are concerned, you can write to Defra.

The RSPCA is calling for the Government to apply external regulation to the greyhound industry as a matter of urgency.

There is a rising tide of public unease about this issue and increasing pressure on the industry to improve its ways and not regard dogs as disposable commodities.

David Millard, RSPCA North Regional Superintendent, Leeds