I OFTEN see elegant, gentle rescue greyhounds being exercised around my neighbourhood in Glasgow. I sometimes stop and pass the time of day with their human companions and listen to their stories.

Recently, a rescued greyhound called Rosie started being walked in a local lane, a quiet place, without too many other dogs or people. Rosie is very nervous about any new noises and smells, even the smell of a fox causes her to freeze almost in a catatonic state. The outside world is an unfamiliar and often scary place for Rosie; as a dog bred to race in the cruel greyhound racing industry, Rosie wasn’t allowed to experience the world like other dogs. Rosie’s guardians have spent many hours carefully helping, coaxing, and gently encouraging her. It wasn’t until I started meeting people who had rescued these beautiful dogs that I fully realised the horrible reality for greyhounds forced to race for their "trainer’s" profit.

Forcing greyhounds to race for human profit is incredibly cruel and can be very dangerous for the dogs involved; it is not a sport, it is exploitation.

Comprehensive reviews conducted last year by the RSPCA, Dogs Trust and Blue Cross highlighted serious concerns at every stage of a raced greyhound's life and data from the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (the self-regulating organisation that governs licensed greyhound racing), show that more than 2,000 raced greyhounds died and nearly 18,000 injuries were recorded on tracks in the UK between 2018 and 2021, with additional dogs injured on independent tracks.

But suffering doesn’t end off the track. When greyhounds are no longer of financial use to their trainer, their suffering sadly may not be over. The original racing trainer may force the dog to breed for the industry. Horrifyingly, others may be killed. Few of us will ever forget the 2007 prosecution of a man in Wales who was thought to have killed 10,000 greyhounds.

Here in Scotland, greyhound racing has been in decline since its heyday in the 1930s and 1940s. Today we have only one track, Thornton Stadium, which is an unregulated flapper track (which means it lacks any mandatory drug testing and trackside veterinarians). The last regulated stadium was Shawfield in South Lanarkshire which, thankfully, did not re-open after the Covid-19 lockdown.

After years of dedicated and powerful work by local campaigning groups, political momentum seems to be building here for an outright ban on greyhound racing. Indeed, a recent poll in Scotland by GREY2K USA Worldwide showed that a clear 60 per cent of Scots want to see dog racing end.

A decision about that could come soon after the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission reports to the Scottish Government. Here at OneKind, we will do everything in our power to support our dedicated local greyhound groups fighting for a ban and help coordinate campaign actions to finally end this cruel sport in Scotland, and then the rest of the UK.

As for Rosie, my local greyhound, she is finally confident enough to walk and interact with the world she is now living in – well away from the cruel world of racing.

Bob Elliot is Director of OneKind