ANTI-GREYHOUND racing campaigners took to the streets of Haddington in support of a petition calling for action to stop a stadium being built in Wallyford.

Representatives of CagedNW (Nationwide), joined other retired greyhound owners to raise awareness of the dogs as pets, and plans for the stadium.

The petition, which has already been signed online by 2,770 people, calls on East Lothian Council to take a stand against the proposed stadium, which has been given planning permission, by refusing to issue drinks and entertainment licences to it and introducing its own welfare officer to oversee the care of dogs at the new stadium.

It states: “Greyhound racing has no place in modern Scotland and remains a self-regulated, widely abused activity in which animals face unnecessary suffering, untimely deaths and a lack of care which would be expected by any other animal.

“We believe it should be outlawed and East Lothian Council has an opportunity and a responsibility to take a stand through openly voicing its objections and acting through its licensing powers.”

Campaigners from East Lothian and nearby travelled to Haddington to highlight the petition last Friday They stood outside the town’s Ladbrokes betting shop and on Court Street, with banners and placards provided by CagedNW highlighting the plight of racing dogs.

Several owners of rescue greyhounds also brought their pets to join the protest.

The group said: “This is about raising awareness of the reality of greyhound racing and letting people see what great pets these dogs make.

“There is no place in Scotland for a new greyhound stadium; it is a cruel and barbarbic industry which should be banned. The Wallyford stadium should never have been approved; now it has, the local authority has to make clear that it will not support it.”

Following the protest, social media page No to Greyhound Racing at Wallyford, which was set up in response to the planned stadium, shared a video of a number of racing greyhounds suffering falls and injuries at Shawfield, Scotland’s only licensed track, on Saturday night.

The video said: “While East Lothian Council are contemplating the development of a new track in Wallyford, less than 50 miles away greyhounds were forced to perform at Glasgow’s Shawfield dog track with what must have been fatal consequences.”

Proposals for a greyhound stadium have been around since 1998 but planning consent was officially given by East Lothian Council in early 2002.

However, the developer has been in dispute with the council over his contention that houses needed to be built first to free up funds for the stadium.

He has been supported by the Scottish Government, which overturned the council’s refusal to allow housing to be built.

Development of the stadium stalled after a steel stand frame was put up – with a major housing development subsequently built north-east of the site – and developers said they needed to build more housing to finance the leisure project.

In April 2010, an application to build 94 houses on land originally identified for business use and for a stadium car park was rejected by local planners but an appeal to the Scottish Government saw that decision overturned and last month the council gave planning permission for the ‘high-end’ houses and car park.

A council spokesperson said: “Any petition we receive will be given full consideration. It may be useful to clarify that while it is true that the East Lothian licensing board has an overprovision policy, the board must only make decisions after an application is received. Board members must not comment on applications before they are heard at the licensing board.

“In terms of animal welfare, of course East Lothian Council takes its duties very seriously and works with other agencies in the event that any concerns are reported.”