Vegan university students threaten to boycott Christmas party because venue overlooks greyhound track

Yohannes Lowe
Owlerton Stadium, sometimes referred to as Sheffield Sports Stadium, is a greyhound racing track in Owlerton near Hillsborough  - www.alamy.com

A group of vegan university students have threatened to boycott a prestigious Christmas party because the venue overlooks a greyhound track linked to accusations of animal abuse.

Sheffield University's Edward Bramley Law Society came under attack for scheduling the Christmas Masquerade Ball at the OEC, a dining venue next to Owlerton greyhound stadium in Sheffield, for 28 November.

Vegan and vegetarian law students said the event was in “conflict” with their “beliefs” amid claims the race track allegedly allowed dogs to race in 34 degree heat and kept them in kenells on site during a firework display last year.

The student union's guidance will discourage student societies from hosting future events at the OEC following a meeting with irate law students, according to The Tab, because it is not an “example venue” for society balls. 

One second year Law student at Sheffield University, who is part in of the movement boycotting the event, told The Daily Telegraph that more students are expected to join in protest.

The student, who did not wish to be named, said:  “I’m not going because I don’t feel comfortable supporting a venue that is subsidising such a cruel industry. Many students are unaware of the cruelty in greyhound racing because it is not a sport that is popular among students, and the implications of supporting businesses that have greyhound racing incorporated into them such as A&S Leisure.

“I’m glad the backlash over this venue has brought to light important issues about greyhound welfare to the Sheffield student community. I’m also glad that Ed Bram and the SU have been made aware of the problems with the venue and have taken small steps towards discouraging the use of the OEC.”

The Christmas Masquerade Ball will be held at the OEC, a dining venue next to Owlerton greyhound stadium in Sheffield, on 28 November Credit: Pete Hill/Alamy Stock Photo

The Edward Bramley Society, founded in the 1950's, is an esteemed careers club comprised of around 500 members and is known for its lavish events. It is understood to be hosting around 160 students at this years Christmas ball.

It was forced to apologise after claiming that the OEC and Owlerton were “completely separate” venues, even though both are owned by A&S Leisure Group.

The society said they were happy to meet with members concerned about the Christmas party.

A spokesperson for the Student Union said: “The Students' Union is a space in which all students are supported to discuss and raise awareness of issues of importance to them. We provide impartial advice to all of our student groups, and advised the Law Society on the process of resolving the complaint.

“As elected leaders of societies, students are able to make decisions as to which venues they want to host their events at. The Students' Union supports societies with impartial advice and guidance relating to events organisation.” It added that it has not changed its policy.

The Telegraph has approached the Owlerton stadium for comment.