Coventry Against Greyhound Exploitation (CAGE)
:: UPDATED 7th December 2010 ::

COVENTRY TRACK NOW CLOSED DUE TO CAGE!

LOOKS LIKE IT'S CURTAINS FOR COV!


Five year campaign brings end to dog racing at Brandon Stadium

According to a report in the Coventry Telegraph, the city's greyhound stadium, situated in the
nearby village of Brandon, "looks to have run its last race" ... see
http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/coventry-warwickshire-sport/other-sport/2009/12/29/coventry-s-dog-racing-stadium-looks-to-have-run-last-race-92746-25483862

This excellent news is a wonderful victory for Coventry Against Greyhound Exploitation (CAGE), who
launched an intensive campaign to close the stadium's dog track after it reopened in April 2004

Since that time CAGE have held hundreds of demos and leafletting sessions (averaging at least one a
week) outside the stadium, to educate punters about the plight of the greyhounds and urge them never
to go to dog racing again.

Their valiant efforts helped reduce attendances at the Coventry track to such an extent that it
began to suffer big financial losses and has now been forced to close.

The closure of the track is excellent news for greyhounds, as we estimate that its existence was
responsible for the putting to death of about 500 of these dogs every year.

This is the second big success for CAGE, who succesfully fought plans to construct another Coventry
greyhound track in 2002.

The ending of greyhound racing at Brandon means that only three dog tracks now exist in the West
Midlands area - Hall Green and Perry Barr in Birmingham and Monmore Green in Wolverhampton. To get
involved in the campaigns to close them contact Greyhound Action at info@greyhoundaction.org.uk or
on 01562 700 043.

Previously at CAGE :-)

DEMO INFO: HOW THE CAMPAIGN WAS WON!!!

The Coventry greyhound track at Brandon is teetering on the brink of closure after Greyhound racing at Coventry Ltd. went into liquidation owing thousands ... but new promoter Avtar Sandhu has taken over and is launching a new promotional campaign so we are stepping up our demos to counter it

Demos outside the stadium every Saturday
(except the first Saturday of every from month from April to November)

6.30pm - 7.30pm

Regular info stalls in and around the Coventry area
(contact Coventry Against Greyhound Exploitation (CAGE)
for more details)


contact us if you need transport.

soledad_john@hotmail.com

Tel: John on 07771 953465.

To see a map click here or here

see below for more details:

Updated 28th June

COVENTRY STADIUM - TIME CHANGE FOR SUNDAY DEMOS (see new times above)

Track's attempt to attract children an almighty flop

Sunday greyhound racing at Coventry Stadium has now been switched from the evening to the early afternoon, so Coventry Against Greyhound Exploitation (CAGE) have changed the times of their demos outside the stadium accordingly.

Do try to get along to some of these demos, especially if you live in or near the West Midlands/Warwickshire area.

An attempt by Coventry Stadium owner Avtar Sandhu to shore up appalling attendances by attracting children to greyhound racing with a "family fun day" at the track last Sunday, turned into an almighty flop. CAGE demonstrators counted little more than a dozen children entering the stadium with their parents (photos from the demo can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/5obj4b ) and a visibly upset Sandhu was told his fortune in no uncertain terms after emerging to argue with protesters.

This was despite the stadium having sent flyers about the event to more than 30 local schools, causing much controversy in the process

see http://cv5.coventrytelegraph.net/2008/07/dog-racing-on-the-curriculum.html


15th June: Original NEWSFLASH

Hello everyone!!!

Just letting you know some of the latest news from the Coventry greyhound stadium.

The track has not been going very well financially due mainly to the low attendances and some “financial irregularities”. The attendances at the track are consistently very low and we feel our weekly picket is working. The company headed by Malcolm Francis went into liquidation about 3 months ago leaving a huge amount of debt. Since then a new company headed by Avtar Sandhu has been set up and some of the debt has been paid off. Now they are trying to revamp the whole enterprise. They have a new webpage:

http://www.coventrygreyhounds.com/index.php

Part of their promotions are aimed at families offering to children free meals, cheap entrance rates and special offer packs.

We plan to picket the launch day for these family promotions on Sunday 20th July from 11am to 12:15pm. It is strategically important to keep our presence at the gates to let know these first time punters about the hidden cruelty of the greyhound racing industry. – and now they are actually targeting children in their advertising!!

We have decided that to picket every racing meeting since their launch day on the 20th July for 2 weeks. After that we will re-asses the impact both of their advertising campaign and our raising awareness campaign.

Below are some news articles with more detailed information about the situation the track is going through, debt details, arrangements with the NGRC, and their new plans.

Relevant Articles:

An article giving an insiders view on the sustainability of Brandon "How safe is your track" (pdf)

An article about the debt situation at Brandon ... click here

An article about unpaid prize money at Brandon ... click here

An other article on the debt situation ... click here



About Cage:

CAGE is one of the founder local groups of Greyhound Action and is one of the most active and successful.

Our very first campaign prevented the opening of a new greyhound track in Coventry (if you carry on reading down you can see the full story) and since then we have been actively campaigning against the nearby Brandon track.

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.

Not 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.

You can contact CAGE at:

PO Box 3605, Coventry CV1 3WS

Email: soledad_john@hotmail.com

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:

"Avtar the animal abuser"



Avtar Sandhu

Coventry Stadium boss, Avtar Sandhu (above), is often banging on in the local press about how much he cares for the welfare of the greyhounds that race there.

At the end of February (2005) however, he once again showed his true colours and his lack of concern about the illtreatment of animals when he allowed a wild animal circus to take place on the car park there. Before reintroducing dog racing to the stadium last year, this wonderful man destroyed a nearby wildlife area to make room for the car park.

You can see a report of CAGE's protests against the animal circus there on the West Midlands Animal Action website at http://www.geocities.com/wmids_animalaction/great-british-circus.html


If you are not convinced that Circuses are cruel and degrading ... click here >> www.captiveanimals.org - to go to the Captive Animals Protection Society website.

PRESS RELEASE Friday 18th February 2005

GREYHOUND 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 didn’t 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 wasn’t 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.

For 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.

Nevertheless, the battle against greyhound racing at Brandon is far from over. The stadium bosses still need to obtain a track betting licence in order to hold dog racing there and their application for this has been vigorously opposed by local residents, the local parish council and ourselves. A decision on this, to be made by Rugby Borough Council's Department of Housing and Environmental Health, is expected within the next few weeks, and we will bring you news of the result as soon as we receive it.

In addition, Coventry Against Greyhound Exploitation (CAGE) are launching a campaign to persuade local businesses not to sponsor or organise trips to dog racing at Brandon and will continue their efforts to educate local people not to attend or bet on greyhound races.

It may well be the case that the stadium proprietors "don't approve of cruelty to the dogs", but they cannot be unaware that an increased number of greyhounds will suffer and die if dog racing goes ahead at Brandon.

Jeremy 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.

There is no way that genuine animal rights campaigners would ever work with the greyhound racing industry. Animal abuse must be ended, period, and there can be no compromise or negotiation with those who carry it out.


The story of CAGE's victory in 2002 - It can be done!

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 2 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.

Back to the top of the page

You can contact CAGE at:

Please get in touch if you can help with the demos or in any other way.

PO Box 3605, Coventry CV1 3WS

Email: soledad_john@hotmail.com

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).


CAGE and Brandon in the news

currently 9 articles

click here

CAGE launches free downloadable library display posters

click here for details

DEMOS:

Extra Demos to coincide with the launch of their new promotional campaign:

Wednesday 23rd July from 6:30 to 7:30pm
Saturday 26th July from 6:30 to 7:30pm
Sunday 27th July from 11.15am to 12.30pm
Wednesday 30th July from 6:30 to 7:30pm
Sunday 3rd August from 11.15am to 12.30pm


Regular Demos:

Weekly demos against dog racing outside Coventry Stadium at Brandon currently take place every Saturday from 6.30pm - 7.30pm.
(except the first Saturday of every from Month from April to November when there is no racing)

With racing starting at 7.30, there are people going into the stadium before 7,
so it's important that the demos start earlier than that.

Coventry Stadium is situated between the villages of Binley Woods and Brandon, a few miles east of Coventry on the A428 Rugby Road,

contact us if you need transport.

To see a map click here or here

email CAGE if you want more info.

If we can make our voices heard and persuade people not to go to the track, the future of the track can be a short one as it needs the attendance of big crowds to keep going, and we need your support to help us do this

Previous CAGE demos against the Brandon track.
click here



Maps showing the location of the stadium can be found at:

http://www.upmystreet.com/map?l1=CV8+3GJ&x=439700&y=276900&scale=25000
and
http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newprint.srf?x=440761&y=276980&z=5

PDF version of CAGE's leaflet to local residents

To download a printable version or just to read it here

If you have the time, why not print out, photocopy and distribute the leaflet to other sympathizers?

Note: You need the Adobe Acrobat reader to view this file, to download it for free - click on the Adobe logo below.