A 350-year-old pub in Scotland named after a mythical black dog is renaming itself as part of its commitment to being 'anti-racist'.
The Black Bitch, in Linlithgow, West Lothian, dates back to the 17th century and is named after a female dog that forms part of the town's crest and stands as a monument in the town centre.
Legend has it the greyhound saved her master when he was sentenced to starve to death on an island in Linlithgow loch.
Clearly, if you were to open a new pub today, naming it The Black Bitch would be doubly offensive and totally indefensible. However, given the history of the pub, many locals see no problem with it.
After much deliberation though, Greene King has decided to rebrand the boozer.
Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of the chain, said the new name, The Black Hound, is designed to retain the pub's heritage while reducing the likelihood of causing offence.
He said: "This is an important decision to take but we feel strongly that it is the right one.
"We are well aware of the pub's history and where the name originates, and so we are choosing a new name that still reflects the pub's history and will look to retain the coat of arms and images on the pub's sign.
"We have spent many months reviewing and discussing this as we understand that changing this name will attract a range of views, but as part of our commitment to being an anti-racist organisation we want our pub names to be welcoming and inclusive and that means taking action when there is a need to make a positive change for the better."
A planning application is set to be submitted to West Lothian Council to formally change the name, but some locals don't back it.
Indeed, more than 2,700 people have signed a petition calling to 'stop The Black Bitch pub name change'.
Betty Scott is among those who opposes the name change, which she labelled 'bureaucracy gone mad'.
The 74-year-old told the Daily Record: "I don’t see any reason to change it. I’m a Black Bitch and proud to be one."
Simon Law added: "It's political correctness gone mad. They don't understand the story behind it and are obviously ignorant of local history."
But Abel Aboh, chair of the West Lothian Community Race Forum, said it was time the name changed.
He said: "As a local person who lives in West Lothian, I can remember how I felt the first time when I saw it and every time I go down that particular road, that feeling never changes.
"We believe as a forum that the name of the pub should be changed in response to ensuring that it signals inclusion and diversity. That is what West Lothian is all about and we have seen all kinds of people from all walks of life living and working in West Lothian.
"Linlithgow is one of the oldest towns in the area and we know that name has always had a historical connotation but we need to reflect on what is going on now and ask if the name is reflective diversity, inclusion and equality today - the things you and I need in 21st century Scotland.
"For that reason we felt the name fell short. We are just hoping everyone can embrace the new name."
LADbible has contacted Greene King for comment.
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