I HAVE just read the letter from Susan Smith (ViewPoints, January 3), regarding her happiness at seeing an end to greyhound racing at Oxford Stadium after 73 years.
I must take issue with the contents of her letter, which gives the impression that greyhounds are treated cruelly, which is absolutely not true. In fact, from my vast experience the opposite is the case.
I joined the staff at Oxford Stadium in 1959, in the Racing Office, and in 1964 was appointed racing manager, a position I held until the stadium closed in 1976, when it was sold by the owners (Bristol Stadium Ltd), to be developed for housing.
During my 17 years at Oxford Stadium, I can categorically assure Ms Smith that I never experienced any mistreatment of greyhounds by any trainer, kennelhand or owner connected with the sport. The greyhounds were always well cared for, and it should be remembered they were inspected by a veterinary surgeon before racing, each and every time. There were also strict rules regarding weight, which was recorded each time they raced or trialled.
In addition, regular kennel inspections were carried out on a ‘without warning’ basis by myself as manager, or by the stipendiary steward of the then WGRC at any time.
I can assure Ms Smith that trainers, owners and people within the sport always had the best interest of the animals as a priority, and would not treat them cruelly or abandon them when they retired. The Retired Greyhounds Trust arranges for the care of retired hounds, and re-homing them.
I feel that the opposite side of the story to that given by Ms Smith’s letter needed to be addressed.
BILL FIELD, Racing manager Oxford Stadium, 1964-1976, Norreys Avenue, New Hinksey