New specification for care of racing greyhounds launched

BSI, the business standards company, has launched a new specification for looking after racing greyhounds housed in residential trainers’ kennels. The specification is comprehensive in its scope, covering requirements for constructing the kennels, bedding, diet, and the appropriate veterinary healthcare of greyhounds, among other requirements.

Development of the specification, PAS 251:2017 Specification for greyhound trainers’ residential kennels, was first recommended by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) following a government review of secondary legislation specific to greyhound racing.

PAS 251 provides a consensus-based specification for residential racing greyhound kennels based upon best practice and the collaborative experience of animal welfare organizations, veterinarians, government and industry specialists. The goal of this specification is to provide a kennel standard that supports good welfare practice.

The specification covers requirements related to the physical construction of the kennel, including the unit sizing, lighting and ventilation, kennel interiors, drainage, and electrical appliances. Day-to-day concerns for greyhound handlers’ – such as vaccinations, waste removal, cleaning and disinfectant, and food preparation and storage – are outlined in the PAS. 

The environmental enrichment of the kennelled greyhounds – including requirements for exercise, monitoring behaviour, health and welfare, handling and training – is also covered in the specification. Greyhounds, like all animals, can be unpredictable even when expertly trained. Accordingly, PAS 251 covers emergency precautions, kennel security, and isolation facilities.

Sponsored by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, PAS 251 is applicable to all types of greyhound racing, whether licensed by the local authority or a regulatory body responsible for issuing licenses and accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). The implementation of the specification is voluntary; it does not replace the obligations set out in existing animal welfare legislation. 

Whilst intended for kennels which house more than two racing greyhounds, PAS 251 may also be used as guidance for kennels which house two or fewer greyhounds. The specification covers where a greyhound permanently resides, rather than kennels at racecourses designed as temporary kennelling prior to a greyhound taking part in a race.

Anne Hayes, Head of Market Development for Governance and Resilience at BSI, said: “Britain is a nation of dog lovers, and the greyhound is one of our best known breeds. In creating PAS 251, BSI brought together renowned animal charities and industry experts to create best practice care for these animals in residential kennels.

“This new specification is intended to be both realistic and achievable for trainers of greyhounds, whilst also being measurable and auditable if used as a basis of a certification or inspection scheme.”

PAS 251 is not intended for other breeds of dogs, nor is it intended to apply to kennels that only accommodate greyhounds which are retired from racing, such as a greyhound re-homing organization. Commercial greyhound breeding establishments also fall outside the scope of this specification.

The following organizations were involved in the development of PAS 251 as members of the steering group: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home; Defra; Dogs Trust; Greyhound Board of Great Britain; Greyhound Forum; Greyhound Trainers Association; Greyhound Trust; Racecourse Promoters Association; RSPCA; Society of Greyhound Veterinarians; The Kennel Club; UKAS.

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