Nik Budimir, the businessman hoping to bring Oxford Stadium back to life, responds to claims by animal welfare group PETA that greyhound racing is mistreatment of animals.

I read with interest the comments (Oxford Mail, December 17) directed against greyhound racing from an organisation so discredited and misguided they need not be named - and refute them wholeheartedly.

Greyhound racing remains integral to our plans to relaunch Oxford Stadium as a multi-sports area and asset to the local community, increasing jobs and opportunities for local people - and to provide a safe, family-friendly environment for those visiting the iconic city.

Many thanks therefore to Rob Peasley, who has campaigned tirelessly for the return of Oxford Stadium as a venue for speedway, for supporting the dogs.

Read again: Greyhound racing plan for Oxford Stadium slammed by PETA

We have worked hand-in-hand with the speedway fraternity, any of whom also enjoy the greyhounds.

Rob is right when he says greyhounds are well looked after by owners and trainers - and I can vouch for that.

As a longtime greyhound owner, and as someone who has purchased greyhounds to race in the major events for tens of thousands of pounds, I can ensure your readers the greyhounds need looking after to run well!

Greyhound racing is part of the British sporting fabric, alongside horse racing, and both industries are worth billions of pounds - and could only work given the love and care bestowed on these wonderful creatures by those who look after them.

Read again: Oxford City Council signs off plan to bring stadium back into use

We are a nation of animal lovers - and both greyhound and horse racing have powerful and impressive ruling bodies to ensure that welfare standards are of the highest order - and greyhound racing has actually led other administrations.

Greyhound racing has become a world leader in terms its stringent drug-testing, for instance, plus has a zero-tolerance policy in terms of the mistreatment of dogs.

This is very much part of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s (GBGB) Greyhound Commitment.

Oxford Mail:

Oxford Stadium is currently closed to the public.

If anyone has any doubts, please take time to read the GBGB’s website and how they and their stakeholders have revolutionised the sport’s welfare and integrity.

You can do so via

Quite simply, greyhound racing is the most transparent of sports which cares for its greyhounds both during their racing careers and after, with the Greyhound Trust and other charities homing and caring for greyhounds in retirement.

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Many live out long lives with their owners - which is why you see an increased number being walked in the streets.

The GBGB and Greyhound Trust have committed huge resources to promote and nurture the public’s love of greyhounds - and it is working brilliantly.

Oxford greyhound track was always renowned as having a vibrant and family-friendly atmosphere.

Its catchment area is substantial and its impact on the history of greyhound racing has been huge since it opened its doors in 1939.

Many a canine champion graced its grass and, later, sand.

Its main competition the Pall Mall boasts one of the finest rolls of honour in the sport - and includes Greyhound Derby winners (Pigalle Wonder and Mile Bush Pride) and a Greyhound of the Year (Tims Crow).

Oxford also twice hosted the TV Trophy.

The first in 1987 was broadcast on the BBC on the former midweek sports programme Sportsnight, while the cameras from Sky Sports were there in 1995 and on several occasions until the track closed.

And make no mistake, it wasn’t any lack in popularity of greyhound racing or speedway which saw the track close.

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Both are viable and popular sports, and the modern facility that was Oxford Stadium provided hugely popular right up to its closure.

However, being owned by a company which was sold to a property developer along with Wimbledon Stadium, Oxford was ‘thrown in’ as part of the deal.

Thankfully, Oxford City Council has not been railroaded into capitulating.

The opportunity to return Oxford Stadium to its former glory is too good to miss.

Greyhound racing remains hugely important to the betting industry and a track like Oxford would quickly establish itself as one of the premier tracks in the UK.

Opportunities for the stadium and surrounding land are huge.

We are talking about a seven-day-a-week business all-year round - with housing, and social housing especially, part of the plan also.

We understands the pressures the council faces here.

Friday and Saturday nights at the stadium would be packed. Oxford was always known as a track capable of accommodating 200-plus restaurant covers and greyhound racing’s value-for-money family-friendly reputation will ensure its launch and continued success.