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Protesters gather outside Romford Greyhound Stadium as campaigners claim sport is ‘no longer viable’

PUBLISHED: 12:28 22 August 2016 | UPDATED: 14:32 22 August 2016

Campaigners were in Romford on Friday night.

Campaigners were in Romford on Friday night.

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Protesters were outside Romford Greyhound Stadium for the first time this year as they continued their fight for the “outdated” sport to be banned.

The anti-greyhound racing group known as the Essex Defenders stood outside the track on Friday, in London Road, Romford, for two hours, ensuring people attending were aware why they were there.

A spokeswoman for Essex Defenders who lives in Harold Hill but wished to remain anonymous, said: “We are not specifically protesting against Romford – we are against the industry as a whole and are making a stand for all the dogs that are put down after not making the money trainers want.”

Those protesting on Friday were fully aware that everyone would not agree with their beliefs.

The spokeswoman said: “We do get a lot of negative comments from the hardcore support that goes week in and week out to the track but we also get our message across to groups of people who have never been before.

“They tend to be more receptive and read what it is they are supporting by attending.

“Those people will usually read the leaflets and look a bit shocked once they see the statistics.”

Protesters in the group say they will not stop until greyhound racing is banned and believe betting on animals in sport is no longer viable.

“Greyhound racing is outdated – animals should not be exploited for profit,” the spokeswoman said.

“There is a difference between dogs running in fields and being kennelled for 23 hours a day and running around a track to make someone some money.

“It’s not just people in this country who want it banned, other countries have taken the steps to stop using animals in sport and believe it’s not viable anymore.”

Manager of Romford Greyhound Stadium David McDonald has defended the track’s safety record and says the track is a huge part of the town by employing more than 200 people and welcoming 200,000 visitors through the doors every year.

He said: “The track has a good safety record, people that come here know how much the dogs are cared for.

“The leaflets protestors hand out have pictures of dogs being abused which is absolute nonsense and not the case here.

“They are entitled to their opinion but I think they are misinformed about the industry.”

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