From the End of the Leash: “High Stakes” – Humane Society Hopes to End Greyhound Racing

From the End of the Leash: “High Stakes” – Humane Society Hopes to End Greyhound Racing

Hi there, Tiberius here! Now, as you all know, I take pride in good breeding, tradition, and excellence, but some things, no matter how glamorized, are just no good and have to go. Grey2K USA, in conjunction with the ASPCA, released a recent report that chronicled the costs of Greyhound racing in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Texas, and West Virginia. These seven states still allow Greyhound racing, despite its hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries.

The report, aptly titled “High Stakes,” strives to show the dire losses of an industry in decline – financial losses carried by government funds and taxpayers’ contributions and the high cost in terms of animal cruelty. Now, if you’re reading this with a little one, you may want to shield their eyes because the next few statistics are gruesome. Between 2008 and 2015, GREY2K USA and the ASPCA found 11,722 Greyhound injuries stretching from broken legs to paralysis and electrocutions, almost 1,000 racing Greyhound deaths, 27 cases of no veterinary attention, poor track kennel conditions, and starvation, and 16 cases of Greyhounds that tested positive for cocaine.

Racing commissions are supposed to be self-regulated; however, the report has found that such self-regulating is largely in vain. In Alabama and Florida, which house over half of the nations active dog racing tracks, it is not even required to report Greyhound injuries. Since 2008, in lieu of the evidence, 2,200 state disciplinary rulings have been issued. Grey2K USA and the ASPCA have worked hard to close 41 dog tracks, and though Greyhound racing is steadily growing more and more unpopular, it is still legal and operating in seven states. Frustrated by how the costs of regulation are outweighing the costs of revenue, some of these states are pressuring gambling facilities to include and incorporate greyhound tracks to help revive the distressed industry – a move that sucks up millions of dollars from state governments. That money could buy a lot of milk bones, or even – fund more no-kill shelters or education programs!

Most of the spectators at the races may admire the swiftness of a Greyhound or enjoy the excitement of a race, but what they don’t see or realize is that these aren’t dogs getting a chance to play, these are dogs that are being exploited. There is tremendous pressure on a racing Greyhound dog to perform, and in the process, the dog often accrues injuries ranging from broken legs and toes to cardiac arrest from the intense stress. Once their racing “career” is finished, some dogs are killed, some are funneled into breeding programs, and only a small, lucky minority is put up for adoption. That said, no one knows, or says, where most Greyhounds who make up the 80,000 born into dog racing end up after their time on the track is done.

GREY2K USA and the ASPCA have published a petition on urging decisive government action to end the terrible sport. The petition has collected 100,000 signatures within its first week, and is now in the ranks of the top 100 active U.S. petitions on the site. I know this is a darker post than usual, but I hope it is also a call to action – whether simply in growing awareness of a cruel practice or in a letter to a congressman.


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