Against Greyhound Exploitation (CAGE)
Previously at CAGE :-)
DEMO INFO: HOW THE CAMPAIGN WAS WON!!!
outside the stadium every Saturday
contact us if you need transport.
Tel: John on 07771 953465.
is one of the founder local groups of Greyhound Action and is one of
the most active and successful.
Currently there are demos every saturday evening at Brandon (see the green panel for regular demo times and more info) and since they began, the numbers of punters attending the races has fallen quite dramatically.
content with just doing demos, CAGE have also recently produced
an excellent set of posters for library displays that is touring around
the West Midlands ... so if you live in the area keep an eye out.
Box 3605, Coventry CV1 3WS
Tel: John on 07771 953465.
If you would prefer to help financially, send cheques/POs to Greyhound Action, PO Box 127, Kidderminster, DY10 3UZ. (Make payable to "Greyhound Action" and write "Coventry campaign" on the back).
Read on to see the history of previous CAGE campaigns:
the animal abuser"
PRESS RELEASE Friday 18th February 2005
TRACK BOSS, MR SANDHU, BRANDED A HYPOCRITE
Coventry animal welfare campaigners are disgusted that only a year after proudly announcing that animal circuses were no longer allowed to use Coventry Stadium its boss, Mr Sandhu, has allowed them back from Tues 22nd February to the 27th. He wrote to Captive Animal Protection Society to say I would like to inform you that we have now put a stop to any animal circuses using our land at Coventry Stadium adding that he hoped that this would help their cause. For this move he received favourable pro-animal welfare publicity in contrast to the negative press he had been receiving regarding controversial issues surrounding greyhound racing.
Since the greyhound racing was commenced by Mr Sandhu at the stadium in the spring of last year Coventry Against Greyhound Exploitation (C.A.G.E) has mounted peaceful weekly pickets outside the stadium to educate race-goers to the hidden side of greyhound racing namely the abandonment and killing of thousands of beautiful dogs every year. At a time when the industry should be tackling existing problems we saw it as a tragedy that a new track was opening up.
To begin with Mr Sandhu said that he didnt mind our presence outside the gates and, on several occasions, drew our attention to his circus ban so that we could trust that he was a person who gave animal welfare a priority over business matters. But as it became clear that we would be there on a regular basis he became increasingly antagonistic towards us. On one picket in the autumn of 2004 Mr Sandhu approached John Curtin from C.A.G.E and said if you come here one more time I will bring the animal circus back here. Mr Curtin at first that he must be joking but Mr Sandhu wasnt smiling. Once he realised that this ultimatum was for real Mr Curtin replied we are not going to stop highlighting the dark side of the greyhound racing industry. If you go ahead with your threat then you will be seen as a hypocrite because of the stance you have publicly taken regarding animal circuses, who cares absolutely nothing for animals.
Not only has he allowed an animal circus back onto the land but it is a wild animal spectacular with camels, zebras, tigers and lions. Environmental awareness is now being taken seriously as an issue. What sort of message does it send out to our young children to see wild animals forced to perform degrading tricks. Animal circuses belong in the history books, a shameful chapter indeed. See www.captiveanimals.org for more info on the immorality of animal circuses.
Animal welfare campaigners will peacefully picket outside the stadium before each performance which on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings will co-incide with pickets held by greyhound campaigners from C.A.G.E.
After the picket on Thursday 24th Feb we will hold an animal friendly evening at the Friends Meeting House in Hill St, Coventry, starting at 8 p.m, where we will show a video highlighting the cruelty and abuse inherent within animal circuses. We will be also be showing some wildlife documentaries, so that people can marvel at the true grace and awesome beauty of lions and tigers, as filmed in their own natural environments where they belong.
For more info contact
John Curtin, spokesperson for C.A.G.E on 0777 1953465
Sadly, it comes as no surprise to us that the application was approved. We feel that the reason for this lies in the fact that greyhound racing used to take place at the stadium. This means that, although many Rugby Borough councillors are not happy about the reintroduction of greyhound racing to Brandon, they are having difficulty finding legal reasons to oppose it that would stand up to an appeal by the stadium proprietors - and they are afraid that if the council were to lose such an appeal, it would be saddled with a bill for many thousands of pounds.
many years now, all attempts by the promoters of greyhound racing to
obtain planning permission for dog tracks have failed, but these were
all proposals to build new tracks, rather than for the reopening of
an old one.
Heaver is totally mistaken that the stadium bosses and greyhound protection
campaigners are on the same side. No matter how much money is invested
"to provide the best possible conditions for the greyhounds",
dogs will still suffer injury at Brandon and the increased demand that
the track will create for greyhounds to be bred will lead to many hundreds
more of these dogs being "put to sleep", or worse, when they
become surplus to the requirements of the greyhound racing industry.
Plans for greyhound track withdrawn
On March 11th 2002, Greyhound Action received a message from an animal rights campaigner in Coventry that people living near the disused Butts athletics stadium in the city had been sent a letter from the council informing them that a company called Butts Park Ventures Ltd had put in a planning application to build a rugby stadium, together with a greyhound track, on the Butts site. Research on the internet revealed that Butts Park Ventures was owned by Keith Fairbrother, the Chairman of Coventry Rugby Club, who were selling their present stadium and looking to build a new one. The news was passed on to Coventry Animal Alliance (CAA), who immediately began a campaign against the proposed greyhound track.
A meeting was held in Coventry between members of CAA, representatives of Greyhound Action and local animal rescue workers, and a plan of action was formulated. Local campaigners set up a group called Coventry Against Greyhound Exploitation (CAGE) and produced leaflets outlining the cruelty and slaughter associated with greyhound racing and the disturbance likely to be caused to local residents by racegoers. Petition forms asking the council to refuse planning permission for the track were printed and hundreds of Coventry residents signed them at street stalls held by CAGE.
At first CAGE concentrated their efforts on leafletting and petitioning people living near the Butts and were very encouraged by the attitude of the local residents, who were almost unanimously opposed to the proposed track.
The local councillor for the area expressed his support for the CAGE campaign and gave advice on the best way to go about persuading the council to reject the track. It turned out that the Butts was actually owned by the council, so the campaign had two lines of attack - one, that the council should not allow greyhound racing, with all its associated cruelty etc., on its land, and two, that planning permission should be refused on account of the problems the track would cause for local residents.
The e-mail and home addresses of all the councillors (including those on the Planning Committee) were obtained from Coventry City Council and people far and wide were asked to send letters and e-mails requesting that the track not be allowed. People were also asked to write to Keith Fairbrother asking him to drop his plans for the track.
Further research on the internet and elsewhere revealed that Fairbrother had previous involvement in greyhound racing and some years before had built a "flapping" track in Coventry without planning permission, which he subsequently had to pull down. It turned out that he had gone bankrupt several times and owed hundreds of thousands of pounds to various people, as well as having a criminal conviction for stealing electricity.
On May 20th, thirty people and several rescued greyhounds held a picket outside the Council House (Town Hall) in Coventry city centre, and this was followed the next night by a public meeting at a hall near the site of the proposed track, which was attended by over 50 people, with the majority being local residents.
First to speak at the meeting was John from CAGE, who told of how members of the group had been to Hall Green greyhound track the previous Saturday on a fact-finding mission. During one of the races there, a greyhound broke its leg and was carried from the track screaming and eventually "put to sleep" by a vet. Later, a survey was done of local residents, who spoke of how their lives were made hell on race nights by drunken punters shouting, fighting and urinating in their gardens. John also spoke about the criminality and dodgy dealings of Mr Fairbrother.
Paul, a Greyhound Action investigator, showed some video clips exposing the cruelty and killing of dogs, as well as the fraud, associated with the greyhound racing industry. One of the videos had been filmed just north of Coventry and showed a pit full of the bones of slaughtered greyhounds and a former training kennels employee speaking of how his ex-boss, and other trainers, had shot dogs who were no longer good enough to race.
Tony from Greyhound Action then gave some general information about greyhound racing, including the facts that 50 greyhounds are slaughtered by the industry every day and each major track is responsible for the deaths of at least 500 greyhounds per year.
Three members of Coventry City Council were also at the meeting and they all expressed opposition to the proposed track. All the local residents present were also opposed to it and all vowed to join the demonstration planned for the coming Saturday outside the Council House.
A reporter from the Coventry Evening Telegraph was there too, but predictably (the paper has a history of opposition to animal rights) the next day's edition gave more emphasis to a supposed threatening letter received by Fairbrother than to the overwhelming evidence against the proposed track presented at the public meeting.
Then Saturday 25th came, and just as CAGE campaigners were preparing for the Council House demo, a phone call came through from the Evening Telegraph saying that Fairbrother had withdrawn his plans for the greyhound track. He had cited economic reasons, but it was obvious he had surrendered in the knowledge that there was no way the Council would allow the track in the light of all the evidence gathered by CAGE and the strength of the local opposition to it.
It was too late to call off the demo, which instead turned into a victory celebration, involving well over 200 people and a fair scattering of rescued greyhounds and other dogs. Champagne was drunk on the steps of the Council House and a march took place through the centre of Coventry, during which a bookmakers temporarily shut up shop after demonstrators gathered outside it. CAGE members gave interviews to local TV and radio and there was tremendous support from the public for what had been achieved.
In less than 2½ months the battle to stop greyhound racing coming to Coventry had been won, meaning that, with Canterbury in 1999, the last two proposals for new greyhound tracks in England have been defeated.