Wimbledon football fans and animal lovers are joining forces in a bid to bring the Dons back home – to end greyhound racing in the area.
PETA has launched a petition supporting AFC Wimbledon’s bid to Merton Council to replace Wimbledon’s Greyhound Stadium with an 11,000-seat football field and 600 homes.
PETA UK Director Mimi Bekhechi told South West Londoner that the sport is ‘cruel’ and the racing stadium should be closed.
She said: “Close it and break out the champagne, because the dogs will be the winners the day the racing ends!
“Greyhound racing is a cruel pastime from a bygone era, which is why the industry is in severe decline.
— Rob Benatti (@re_wording) January 15, 2015
Dogs used for racing are deprived of the love and companionship given to most Britons’ dogs and reciprocated in spades – they are moneymaking machines, bred for speed at the expense of their health, strength and stamina.”
Ms Bekhechi argued that many puppies are killed in the name of selective breeding while those who qualify to race are discarded and often put down when their racing days are over.
She added: Dogs who qualify to race typically live in barren cages and are kept muzzled. “Once their racing days are over, most are discarded like used betting slips, often killed.
“Wimbledon can stop contributing to this hideously abusive industry by closing the greyhound stadium in favour of a football stadium, as football is a real sport, in which all the participants are willing ones.
The PETA petition has attracted more than 1,300 signatures and supporters have taken to Facebook to voice their opinions.
Sarah Vallotton said: “Signed and shared. If you think ‘going to the dogs’ is ok, you’re wrong.
“Incredible cruelty involved – please sign and share.”
Martine Rowland said: “Signed. I do wonder about the brain capacity of people who pay to be ‘entertained’ this way.
“Their blood money causes thousands of dogs to be shot every year.”
Monique Thomas added: “People that race greyhounds are disgusting.
“They just care about winning and when the dogs can’t race they get rid of them – dumped, put down.”
— theres_no_excuse (@mckee_sharon) January 16, 2015
But some dog racing fans thought that it’s the treatment dogs receive that’s the problem, not the sport itself.
Phill Todd said: “My retired greyhound died at seven from a cancer which he probably got because he was doped.
“More drugs than Lance Armstrong except he didn’t choose to take drugs.
“I’m sure the dogs love the thrill of the race – it’s off the track where problems start.”
Kimberly Holmes said: “Nothing wrong with properly organised greyhound racing so long as dogs [are] well cared for and loved!”
AFC Wimbledon’s bid is up against an offer by Hume Consulting Ltd, who have proposed to turn the site into a new greyhound racing track.
You can sign the petition here.
Image courtesy of sixten3 via YouTube, with thanks