Scotland is one of just a handful of nations where greyhound racing still exists. In its heyday there were hundreds of tracks in the UK, but public tastes have changed dramatically following education about the cruel treatment of dogs, as well as competition from other, more modern forms of gambling.

The UK now has only 23 tracks, with just one of those in Scotland. And now, thanks to forthcoming legislation, this too could soon close its doors for the final time. Yesterday saw the launch of a public consultation to end greyhound racing in Scotland. The consultation is the start of a formal process to introduce a Members’ Bill from Green MSP Mark Ruskell, which would see Scotland outlaw dog racing once and for all, and force the Thornton track in Fife to cease racing for good.

GREY2K USA Worldwide is the largest greyhound protection organisation in the world. We work nationally and internationally to pass stronger greyhound protection laws and end the cruelty of dog racing all around the globe.

Right now, our focus is firmly on Scotland, where the fight to end the cruelty of dog racing is gaining momentum. Greyhound racing is cruel and inhumane and clearly out of step with the humane values we all share.

It may seem like a lot of effort for just one track, but sadly the cruelty isn’t just confined to the race track. The life of a racing greyhound is dominated by confinement, limited socialisation, injury and death, drugging and overbreeding. These gentle, loving creatures don’t experience anything close to the lives most other domestic dogs enjoy.

The majority of tracks in the UK are regulated by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, a regulatory body which has oversight of all licensed race tracks. Thornton in Fife is unregulated. This means it answers to no one. Does this make the cruelty better or worse because the track is unregulated? The Scottish Animal Welfare Commission in a recent review of the industry found all racing greyhounds face inherent risk of injury or fatality and other welfare harms, regardless of whether a track is independent or regulated.

Injury and death among racing dogs is rife but the true extent of this at Thornton is unknown as there is no public disclosure as to the number of injuries and fatalities. This ramshackle facility doesn’t even have a vet onsite during race days, yet a bookmaker is always present.

In the USA dog racing is illegal in 42 states, with racing only taking place now in West Virginia. In our 23-year history we have closed down more than fifty tracks across the United States and prevented the legalisation of greyhound gambling to countries such as South Africa, Jamaica, and the Philippines. Scotland is next on our list. Greyhound racing was created in the USA so we feel a special obligation to ensure that the last remaining track is closed, and that no others can ever open. We encourage MSPs to fully support legislation for a phased end to greyhound racing.

It’s time to give greyhounds the second chance they deserve.

Christine A Dorchak is President, General Counsel and co-founder of GREY2K USA Worldwide