It may not be a blow to those who campaign against greyhound racing, but the loss of Belle Vue stadium will hit local businesses hard. And despite their redundancy, workers from the stadium now face an uncertain future as Britain’s live sports industry continues to decline.
Belle Vue stadium first opened its doors in 1926, surviving a world war and near-on 12 years of weekly protests held by animal welfare organisations. It has hosted greyhound racing since its opening and was briefly given over to speedway racing.
The owners of the stadium told Manchester Evening News that they had sought a stay of execution, but that “significant uncertainty over the return of crowds to live sporting venues” meant they had no option than to close.
The closure is a blow to staff and trainers alike, but it remains to be seen how it will impact on the welfare of dozens of greyhounds now unable to race. Such dogs have an uncertain future when they cease to be money earners.
In 2008, track vet Charles Pickering was found in breach of animal welfare rules after he sold some track greyhounds for research purposes.
Excessive injury rates at the stadium have constantly been under scrutiny and in 2012 a Sunday Express journalist alleged that dogs were being kept in appallingly poor and unacceptable conditions.
The stadium’s closure may be a loss to some, but it is welcomed by many more.