The Scottish Government has been urged to close down an unregulated dog racing track in Fife “immediately” over animal welfare concerns.
Thornton Stadium near Kirkcaldy is the only operating dog racing track left in Scotland, but it is not regulated by the official Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB).
Campaign group Scotland Against Greyhound Exploitation has been campaigning to have the track shut down, claiming the sport is “beyond reform”.
Their call was backed by MSPs in a Holyrood debate on Thursday.
Rona Mackay MSP said she has serious concerns about greyhound racing in Scotland and wants to see an immediate ban brought in.
Thornton Stadium is the only track still operating in Scotland so it would be the only business directly affected by an outright ban.
Ms Mackay said: “It is sickening, it is for human entertainment – although how anyone finds it entertaining is beyond me.
“The Animal Welfare Commission has recommended it be closed immediately and I sincerely hope it is.
“We have no idea how many dogs are suffering at this facility and it should be closed immediately.”
Concerns dogs are being ‘drugged’
A number of MSPs have discussed allegations dogs are drugged so they can run faster in the sport.
The only other dog track in Scotland is Shawfield Stadium in Rutherglen, which is regulated by GBGB – but it has not reopened since the coronavirus pandemic.
Between 2017 and 2020, 197 dogs were injured and 15 died at Shawfield Stadium. No injury or death statistics have been published for Thornton Stadium.
Mark Ruskell, Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, has been leading the calls at Holyrood for a phased ban on greyhound racing.
He said: “It is impossible to ignore the brutal reality.
“People have voted with their feet and tracks have shut down and sites have been repurposed for housing.
“Yet it is still not banned in Scotland and there is still one remaining unlicensed track at Thornton.
“It is under no obligation to meet industry welfare rules.”
Scottish Environment Minister Màiri McAllan said the government will consider greyhound racing in an upcoming review of licences.
Thornton rubbishes drugging claims
Thornton Stadium has been approached for comment on the claims made in the Scottish Parliament.
Previously, the stadium told The Courier it did not have the funds to join the GBGB regulator.
Fans at the stadium also rubbished claims the animals are poorly treated and drugged to make them run faster.
Earlier this year, Thornton owner Sandy Bingham disputed drug doping claims and said: “No one would give a greyhound cocaine – they are pets for a start.
“It is sensationalist.”