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Matt’s Blog: The Abomination of Greyhound Racing

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 5:00pm
The Abomination of Greyhound Racing

By ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker

Stopping animal cruelty is difficult enough when it’s done in secret, but when it happens legally and out in the open, ending it can be just as challenging. A tragic case in point: Greyhound racing, a cruel and senseless “sport” that not only kills or injures thousands of dogs every year across the country, but loses money for the places that operate them. State governments are often losers too, having to spend more to regulate the sport than they get back in revenue. Florida alone lost between $1 million and $3.3 million on Greyhound racing in 2012.

So why is this abomination still in business? Because for some, Greyhound racing is still big business.

Greyhounds begin their lives on breeding farms, where only a select few actually become racing dogs. Unwanted pups, those who assessed as unfit for racing, are killed or sometimes sent to laboratories, which use them in experiments. Those chosen for the sport spend most of their lives stacked in double-decker cages in warehouse-style kennels for 20 or more hours a day. Most of the areas Greyhounds are kept are not heated or air-conditioned, causing many to suffer during severe weather temperatures. Many also suffer from fleas, ticks and internal parasites.

While this is enough for most states to turn their back on the ugly practice, Greyhound racing still exists in seven states. More than half of all active American tracks, 12 of 21, are in Florida, where a ridiculous law requires gambling institutions to maintain and run dog racing facilities. You read that right: If you want to run a gaming institution in Florida, you must, by law, race dogs as well. More about that oddity in a moment, but first know that when these dogs are sent out to race, many are actually sent to their deaths.

Making use of a recent Florida law requiring that dog track deaths be reported, the Greyhound protection group GREY2K USA, with ASPCA help, put out a report last month revealing that 74 racing Greyhounds died at 10 different racetracks in Florida over the last seven months of last year. Put another way, from June to December, a Greyhound died from a racing-related injury every three days.

And only two months into 2014, there have already been an astounding 18 deaths at Florida Greyhound tracks. If this shocking rate of deaths continues, Florida tracks will have more than 100 Greyhound deaths by the end of the year.

Causes of Greyhound deaths included including fatal injuries suffered during or after races, and heat stroke. Fifty-one of the dead Greyhounds were under three years old; the two youngest dogs were both 17 months old. These majestic, perfectly healthy, gentle and loving animals were essentially run to death. 

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SHIRLEY M. CARPENTER

THIS IS VERY THOROUGH (sp ?) REPORT... WHAT IT DOES NOT SAY IS WHAT IS BEING DONE ABOUT THE SITUATION ? yOU SPEAK ABOUT THE CRUELTY/CRIMINALS, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE TRACKS ? tO SAY THRE LEAST, CHANGE fLA. LAWS.

Sharon Weber

I agree, Shirley, that there should be change. Unfortunately, it needs to come from within. The citizens of Florida need to be made aware of the inhumane living conditions of these beautiful animals. Although retired dogs that get adopted have a better life, they still live in fear. It's almost like PTSD; they have flashbacks. Still, these are the lucky ones. Most dogs that don't perform well are killed. This is a business that must be closed down!!

Susan Crane-Sundell

Along with closing down the tracks there has to be a concerted coordinated effort to rehome every dog--the trainers, if put out of business without a well-organized transition plan, will just dispose of every dog to a laboratory or to a senseless and not necessarily humane death.

ASPCA Moderator

Click the "Read More" link to find out how to get involved!

Lynn

I have been going from link to link on here trying to find someone here that I want to send a video to of an American Bulldog being shot by a group of policemen...The dog was accused of being vicious which the video 'proves' is ridiculous...People who know dogs could tell she was scared---but not once did she show vicious tendencies. At one point in time, she actually laid down....After shooting the dog, it was still wagging its tail....I've cried so hard, I can't stand NOT doing something....Help me find out who to send this to please...contact me a sissylynn55@gmail.com Thank you...

michele

well, in Florida if PEOPLE STOP supporting this & we all come together to STOP this maybe we can change this and make it illegal period everywhere in the usa..I hope..

Vincent.

You should be ashamed printing such nonsense.

Lesley

Your Mother should be ashamed of giving birth to a retard who believes it is nonsense to report information about the needless suffering of animals

Lesley

Your Mother should be ashamed of giving birth to such an uncaring human who believes it is nonsense to report information about the needless suffering of animals

Lesley

Your Mother should be ashamed of giving birth to such an uncaring human who believes it is nonsense to report information about the needless suffering of animals

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