Angela Smith, former Labour MP for Penistone and Stockbridge, has joined the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) as an independent director.

The former MP will contribute to the GBGB’s animal welfare initiatives, having been heavily involved with this issue throughout her parliamentary career from 2005 to 2019, serving as Shadow Environment Minister.

Whilst serving in her Shadow Cabinet position, Smith worked to develop the Labour Party’s policies regarding animal welfare and farming, and built relationships with major animal welfare charities. 

Additionally, Smith was a Senior Member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee, as well as contributing to various Animal Welfare, Conservation, Wildlife and Game and Wildlife Conservation parliamentary groups. In 2015 she was rewarded for her contributions to animal welfare honorary life membership of the British Veterinary Association.

Commenting on her new role, Smith remarked: “As a close observer of greyhound welfare, I have been very impressed by the significant improvements made within the sport over the past few years.

“The Greyhound Commitment is clearly having a positive impact and it is very encouraging to see standards improving so rapidly. The sport rightly prioritises greyhound welfare and it is pleasing to see the progress that has been achieved.

“This is a critical moment for many grassroots sports and organisations and it is no less so than for greyhound racing. In an era of increased public awareness and scrutiny, it is more important than ever that we demonstrate the very highest standards of welfare and I look forward to playing my part in helping to secure a bright and sustainable future for licensed greyhound racing.”

Smith joins the GBGB as greyhound racing emerges from the UK national lockdown and the authority continues to prioritise the welfare of both competitive and former competitive greyhounds as a key strategic objective. 

Publishing an update on the progress of the Greyhound Commitment last month, the GBGB emphasised that it had met the eight core pledges of the initiative and highlighted the success of its Injury Recovery Scheme (IRS) and Greyhound Retirement Scheme (GRS), adding that no greyhounds were put to sleep due to an inability to rehome them for the second consecutive year in 2020.

Jeremy Cooper, Chair of the GBGB, said: “Having served as Shadow Environment Minister and on the EFRA Select Committee for a number of years, Angela is ideally placed to join our Board.

“As someone from outside the world of greyhound racing, she will bring a much-needed external perspective to our work and will ensure that we continue to operate as an objective and impartial governing body which puts the welfare of our greyhounds at the heart of all we do. I have no doubt that Angela will make an important contribution to our Board and I look forward to working with her.

“In strengthening our Board through Angela’s appointment and our forthcoming appointment of an independent Non Executive Veterinary Director, we are future proofing the governance of the sport for the opportunities and challenges ahead. Ensuring the voice of our sport is heard in the right places has never been more important and demonstrating the strength of our commitment to welfare and the successful outcomes it is producing will be incredibly important in the years ahead.”

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