“There’s much I love about the city…including its rich history – but greyhound racing is one thing that should remain firmly in Oxford’s past.”
Acclaimed actor Miriam Margoyles has slammed Oxford Stadium for its decision of re-opening for greyhound racing.
Last week, the Stadium announced that greyhound racing would return to the Cowley venue following an almost decade-long absence.
The Harry Potter star penned a letter to Oxford City Council– opposing the cruel blood sport and urging them to ban it in the city.
Her letter on behalf of PETA was delivered ahead of an Oxford City Council meeting – during which members were set to debate a motion on whether the council should publicly oppose the return of greyhound racing to Oxford Stadium
Margolyes, who grew up in Oxford, stated: “There’s much I love about the city…including its rich history – but greyhound racing is one thing that should remain firmly in Oxford’s past.
“This ghastly business causes thousands of dogs each year ailments ranging from broken legs to heart attacks.”
She added that the majority of people in Oxfordshire are also against greyhound racing.
In a recent poll conducted by market research company Savanta ComRes, 71% of participants said that they would prefer the stadium be used for another purpose.
“By supporting this motion, you would be doing right by animals and compassionate Oxfordians who don’t want to see their beautiful city tarnished by this cruelty,” Margolyes noted.
“Please, help keep greyhound racing out of Oxford.”
Despite growing sentiment of the Oxford public and increased animal activists’ pressure, concerned councillors shamefully amended the motion to avoid having to speak out against greyhound racing publicly just hours before the council was set to meet.
According to PETA, “the amended motion was watered down and only gave councillors the chance to vote on whether the council should write to the government and encourage it to implement improved animal welfare rules for the greyhound racing industry.”
Moreover, the councillors also didn’t discuss an e-petition that was signed by thousands of concerned residents and supported by PETA, as billed. Instead, the council met, debated, and approved the amended motion. This means that it will write to the government calling for the introduction of legislation incorporating the recommendations of the 2016 Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Greyhound Welfare Report.
‘Time to stand against needless cruelty’
While some councillors suggested that the council is unable to help greyhounds, many voiced their support with Margolyes and PETA that greyhound racing should be left in the past and spoke passionately about it.
“We heard last week that greyhound racing will return on the 26 August. This time, right now, is a time to speak out, to stand up for good lives for animals, to stand against needless cruelty,” Councillor Lucy Pegg, Deputy Leader, Green Group said.
Councillor Laurence Fouweather, Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrat Group added: “I welcome the reopening of the stadium as part of leisure activities for the people of Oxford after it [has been] left unused for over 10 years. However, I can’t support the return of greyhound racing and the problems associated with it.”
‘Shameful that the council is condoning the suffering and deaths of dogs’
Following the approval of the amended motion, PETA along with other charities slammed the council for its weak stance and stressed that nothing short of a total ban of the so-called ‘sport’ is enough.
Kate Werner, senior campaign manager at PETA said: “Compassionate Oxfordians see greyhound racing for what it is – animal abuse – and they don’t want it in their city.
“It’s shameful that the council is ignoring their wishes and condoning the suffering and deaths of dogs on and off the track at Oxford Stadium.”
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