Animal rights activists to hold candle lit vigil outside Henlow Racing Stadium

A candle lit vigil is being held outside Henlow Racing Stadium as campaigners protest against the sp

A candle lit vigil is being held outside Henlow Racing Stadium as campaigners protest against the sport - Credit: Archant

Animal rights campaigners will hold a candle lit vigil outside Henlow Racing Stadium tonight.

Protesters from Shut Down Henlow Racing Stadium and Bedfordshire Animal Rights, along with other activists will be joining the protest.

Organisers say the vigil aims to ‘shine a light’ on the cruelty of greyhound racing – but fans of the sport say they’re barking up the wrong tree.

Protesters with placards and giving out leaflets, will be outside the stadium in Bedford Road from 6pm to 7.45pm.

Bedfordshire Animal Rights spokesman Laura Charnock said: “Commercial greyhound racing is by its very nature horrendously cruel. Thousands of greyhounds are killed each year as a direct result of this industry – either because they do not make the grade for racing or they fail to make their trainers enough money.

“The candles symbolise hope, the hope that one day this abusive industry will come to an end and these dogs will not have to suffer as they are at the moment.

“The candles also symbolise the ones that didn’t make it – the dogs that were too slow, the ones that suffered horrific injuries and died on the tracks and the ones killed because they were too slow to begin with.”

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But greyhound trainer of 53 years John Rogers, who races his dogs at Henlow, said the protestors are ‘misguided’.

He said: “I love my dogs, as much as I love people. My wife has said they get better treatment than she does.

“The venue is the most conscientious. The welfare officer at Henlow would go to the ends of the earth to make sure a dog is rehomed properly.”

He said claims that trainers used so called knacker’s yards to cheaply dispose of unwanted dogs, who are then destroyed by lethal bolt are simply untrue.

“I have been in the game for so many years that if anything was not right I would know,” he said. “I could give you 50 names and there is not one man there that would let a dog suffer.

“They are basically stating facts that are not true.”

Mr Rogers has two racing greyhounds and last week re-homed a third with a family after it reached retirement age.

He said the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) ensures that greyhounds are looked after and microchipping of the animals means owners are always traceable.

“Anything that is under the GBGB banner has a set of rules and those rules are very strict,” he said.

Shut Down Henlow Racing Stadium protests peacefully against the greyhound racing industry and say they will continue to do so until the industry is no more.