A call to ban greyhound racing in Scotland has been made by MSPs.

There is only one racetrack in the country at present, which is unlicensed, after Shawfield in Glasgow did not reopen after the pandemic.

The sport has been in decline in Scotland with tracks closing over a number of decades since its heyday.

As well as Shawfield, dog racing previously took place at Ashfield, and further back races have been held at numerous city venues including a track at Carntyne, Celtic Park, Firhill, and the Albion near Ibrox Stadium.

Now, concerns over animal welfare, doping and cruelty have led to charities calling for it to be ended.

Mark Ruskell, Green MSP, led a debate at the Scottish Parliament and called outright for it to be banned.

The Scottish Government said, while it recognised the concerns and the need for improvements, it had no plans for legislation and said the current animal welfare laws should be sufficient.

Ruskell said at Shawfield there have reportedly been 15 dog deaths and 197 injuries recorded between 2017 and 2020 when it closed in the lockdown.

He said: “Greyhound racing is a cruel sport that has no place in a modern Scotland. Even on licensed tracks, the greyhounds are at risk of serious harm, injury and even death.

“The risks at unlicensed tracks may be even worse as there is far less oversight and far fewer obligations on the owners.

“The evidence is mounting across the UK of the need to tackle this exploitative industry. In Scotland, greyhound racing is on its last legs.

“The industry has shown that it is not capable of the serious reform that is needed. It's time for Scotland to take action by ending this brutal sport.”

Several MSPs across parties supported his motion in parliament and echoed his call for a ban during the debate.

Mairi McAllan, Scottish Government minister for environment, said: "The Scottish Government appreciates the depth of feeling associated with this sport.

“The provisions in the animal welfare act ensures action can be taken where standards are not being met.”

She said penalties were up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine.

The minister added the Scottish Government position is the 2006 Act is “sufficient”.

She said: "The Scottish Government’s position is that the 2006 act, as it stands, is sufficient, but we are interested in how enforcement, particularly in the case of greyhound racing, can be improved."

However, she added: "Despite the Scottish Government having a robust legislative framework in place and, as ever, pursuing more impactful change, we recognise that authorities face challenges with enforcement when they collect data and evidence, particularly from unlicensed greyhound racing premises."

She added: “Animal welfare must be paramount and must be upheld.”