LETTER: Oxfordshire MPs invited to learn more about greyhound racing at Oxford Stadium

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As part of ongoing efforts to educate the general public and key decision makers about greyhound racing and its modern-day operation, Oxford Stadium has written to all six Oxfordshire MPs inviting them to attend a fixture.

The invitation has been prompted by the contents of two parliamentary debates regarding greyhound racing and its future in Wales and Scotland. We are growing increasingly concerned of the language, fabricated information and lack of knowledge concerning greyhound racing by individuals who are allowed to speak during these debates.

At Oxford Stadium, we believe it is essential people are exposed to how greyhound racing operates under current regulations so they can make an educated and well-informed judgement of our sport.

You can read our letter in full below.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you from Oxford Stadium on behalf of our employees, the people behind the successful Save Oxford Stadium campaign and our many thousands of weekly visitors.

The reopening of Oxford Stadium in April 2022 following almost a decade behind lock and key was one of Oxford’s most significant developments as life returned to normal post COVID-19.

A once thriving community venue left to ruin was restored to its former glory with Oxford City Council’s full support and created many employment opportunities locally. Our reopening prompted the restoration of the world-famous Oxford Cheetahs speedway team, with fixtures among the highest attended in the UK.

Mental health charity The Frank Bruno Foundation has also launched an onsite wellbeing centre in partnership with the NHS to provide free non-contact boxing programmes and wrap-around care services to up to 2,000 people each month.

All these provisions have been made possible by the return of greyhound racing which has generated the income required to transform Oxford Stadium from ruin to a true six-day-a-week multi-purpose community hub.

Greyhound racing remains one of the UK’s most popular spectator sports and employs over 7,000 people nationwide with an estimated annual turnover of £2.6 billion for the UK economy.

However, the existence of greyhound racing is under threat with charities the RSPCA, Dogs Trust and Blue Cross actively campaigning to end the sport within five years. Their campaign is based on releasing welfare claims against our sport without any supporting evidence, deceiving tactics in the media and extremist ideology.

Furthermore, we are becoming increasingly concerned by the fabricated information being spoken as fact by highly misled members of The Senedd and Scottish Parliament during recent parliamentary debates regarding greyhound racing and its future.

We are sure you share the disappointment of ourselves and our visitors that a small number of your parliamentary colleagues believe it is acceptable to mislead the public by voicing wildly inaccurate statistics and views on UK greyhound racing during such debates.

Through new regulation and the introduction of groundbreaking welfare schemes, I can confidently state care requirements for all racing greyhounds attached to Oxford Stadium go far beyond what is currently afforded to domestic pets in the UK.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) is responsible for releasing independently verified injury, fatality and rehoming statistics as part of its all-new long-term welfare strategy ‘A Good Life for Every Greyhound’ developed by Professor Madeleine Campbell.

In addition, we are fortunate at Oxford Stadium to have a team of passionate volunteers who go beyond the call of duty to support our work to guarantee every greyhound a loving home in retirement once their careers end.

Following recent events, we believe it is now essential elected representatives of Oxfordshire’s constituencies witness the outstanding levels of care, attention and love our sport delivers to greyhounds.

We would grateful if you would consider a visit to one of our forthcoming fixtures where you can meet our staff, trainers, dedicated onsite veterinary team and racegoers.

We have been overwhelmed by the support from the Oxfordshire public since taking on our 10-year lease in June 2021. Every aspect of Oxford Stadium has been facilitated by greyhound racing and we trust your judgement of our sport can be made by witnessing first-hand how greyhound racing operates in its modern era.

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Boothby.

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