We like to think of ourselves as a nation of dog lovers. For generations dogs have been both our loving companions and trusted helpers, while their speed, skill and agility has also been admired through greyhound racing.

Today there is just one track left in Scotland – at Thornton, Fife – and while racing still provides a spectacle for gambling, the injuries and deaths of dogs at the trackside has partly led to its decline.

The inherent risks of racing dogs at speeds of around 40mph on a curved track are plain to see. Greyhounds bunch up as they approach the first bend, they can collide and sustain horrific injuries as a result. Across the UK, despite a general decline in greyhound racing, we still see hundreds of dogs killed and thousands injured from year to year. This is unacceptable in the 21st century and despite attempts by the racing industry to improve standards the dogs keep getting injured.

Many are retired from the industry early and go on to make wonderful pets. I own an ex-racing greyhound myself called Bert. But so many of these dogs continue to suffer from life-changing injuries. With Bert he had a broken wrist which had failed to heal properly, other dogs are less fortunate losing limbs or their lives, some of these dogs suffer from mental trauma and anxiety from their experiences being kennelled and raced.

Animal welfare organisations like the Scottish SPCA and the Dogs Trust have been working for years to try and improve standards with the industry further, but they have now reached the point where they believe the greyhound racing industry is beyond reform. Trying to put in more conditions through licensing for example will not change the inherent risks the dogs face when racing. It is now time to join most other countries around the world and end greyhound racing for good.

There are well documented cases of greyhound trainers who have abused and mistreated their dogs. Likewise there are many who genuinely love their dogs and treat them well. But sending dogs round a track where they can get injured or killed is unacceptable regardless of who the trainer is.

Following a popular public petition to the Scottish Parliament to end greyhound racing, I believe now is the right time to act and change the law to make it an offence to race a greyhound on a track.

Current animal welfare legislation has failed to prevent the suffering of these dogs, it is now time to take decisive action.

I have launched a consultation on a Members Bill proposal to make this law change which is open till May 1. You can find out more about the bill, the consultation, and how to share your views here – https://www.endgreyhoundracing.co.uk.

There will be some who question whether there are bigger issues than greyhound racing to be discussed at Holyrood. There are, but how we treat animals who have no voice is a test of who we are as a nation and our values.

If we are still a nation of dog lovers then we will bring an end to greyhound racing here in Scotland, for good.