Animal rights campaigners angry after dogs narrowly escape injury at Northamptonshire greyhound race

Credit: PA

Animal rights campaigners have reacted with anger after a mechanical issue at a greyhound race impeded some of the dogs exiting the traps at the start of a race.

Towcester Racecourse held their annual Puppy Derby on Tuesday, but during one of the races the mechanism which opens the traps at the start of the event failed, preventing some of the dogs from exiting easily.

A video posted on social media appears to show the traps failing to open fully.

Bosses at the racecourse say that the dogs were immediately checked by a vet after the race, and suffered no injuries before being returned to their kennels.

Kevin Boothby, Towcester Racecourse Managing Director, said: “We experienced an unforeseen mechanical issue where some greyhounds were slightly impeded when exiting the traps in one of our 12 races on Tuesday, December 27.

“As greyhound racing’s premiere UK venue, we strive to achieve the highest welfare standards and provide enjoyable lives for greyhounds before, during and after their racing careers in line with the GBGB’s ‘A Good Life for Every Greyhound’ strategy.

Towcester Racecourse Credit: Towcester Racecourse

He continued: “We do not want a repeat of Tuesday’s events and will be replacing our current pneumatic starting mechanism with a spring-loaded system as part of our major investment to provide a safe and secure racing environment.”

Animal rights campaigners have called for a ban on greyhound racing. One twitter user said: "There is no place for this vile industry; (it) should be consigned to the horrible histories books"

Another said: "please suspend greyhound racing now."

The puppy derby was originally held in London until 2017 when the 500 metre race transferred to the Northamptonshire track.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain, which regulates Greyhound Racing said: "The welfare of greyhounds is paramount within licensed greyhound racing and through our Rules of Racing we seek to promote and protect their health and safety at all times.  We are working closely with Towcester Stadium to rectify the situation in order to further safeguard the greyhounds racing there."