Greyhound racing – the hidden truth

Narrated from: Dog Sports

A pack of dogs chasing after an electric rabbit – now that’s one hell of a sport!

At least in appearance.

However, the way the greyhounds are treated – now that’s just hell.

Cruelty replaced by cruelty – the butcher’s report

Professional greyhound racing is an entertaining sport, providing thrills to its many spectators and fans – and a score of opportunities for the sworn gambler. For a long time greyhound racing was considered animal-friendly, since it was a great leap up from the old forms of coursing, where actual hares were chased and killed. Furthermore, it increased dog popularity in its own way.

However, it turns out that cruelty towards the prey has simply been replaced by cruelty towards the dog.

In the early 2000s, horrifying revelations were made.

As it turns out, greyhounds that race enjoy far less respect than fellow human sportsmen. In 2002 it was discovered that greyhounds from a certain race track in Florida were often “retired” with a rifle. Greyhounds unwanted on the tracks were taken by a security guard and shot in the head. The remains of more than 3 000 dogs, killed over the course of 40 years, were found in Alabama.

Monstrous? Well, later discoveries made this atrocity seem mild – in the UK, the corpses of 10 000 greyhounds, judged as too slow by their trainers, were discovered buried behind the home of a builders’ merchant. They were killed with a bolt-gun.

Cruel lives

The worst part is that the attorney of the Florida “retirer” claimed that racing greyhounds suffered from their birth – and dispatching them was actually a merciful end.

Sadly, in some aspects this is true. Many tracks treat greyhounds not as dogs, but as assets.

For instance, many puppies never get the chance to live, because it is a common practice to kill them for the purposes of selective breeding.

Many grown greyhounds suffer and even die due to bad “maintenance”. In the USA quite often you will see scores of greyhounds stashed two or three in a crate and transported in a truck without air-conditioning – during the summer!

Welcome to the wonderful world of economy!

There are also such issues as teeth problems and tick infestations, all part of the wonderful world of racing, and never forget the negative effects of doping.

What happened with greyhound racing?

In recent years, a strong campaign against cruelty towards greyhounds, combined with the world economic crisis, has led to a sharp decline in the popularity of these races. The stained image of racing cannot compete with other gambling institutions that are not based on animal cruelty.

However, authorities and track owners alike need to realize that the real problem does not lie in the greyhound races themselves – but in the way they are managed. The races are not cruel towards the dog – hell, most greyhounds need to run at least an hour per day!

What needs to be stopped is the cruel abuse towards these beautiful dogs. Racing dogs (and racehorses for that matter) deserve the same respect that human sportsmen gain. The managers and the owners need to realize that if they do not put a stop to the ill treatment of greyhounds, they will ruin the entire industry.

What is being done for greyhounds?

There is an ongoing campaign for the adoption of greyhounds kicked out from the track – even the Simpsons have one!

Greyhound rescue programs and groups operate all over the USA, UK and Western Europe. The goal is to save as many retired greyhounds as possible. Greyhounds make excellent pets, as they are loving, friendly and gentle, though their hyperactivity and constant need of exercise somewhat limits potential adopters.

Every adoption means one less greyhound retired two feet underground.

The greyhound programs also aim to raise public awareness towards the plight of these wonderful dogs, and to ban greyhound racing altogether.

Exits of a moral dilemma

A compromise must be found between money and morality. As long as there are paying customers, greyhound races will be held one way or another. However, track owners must be forced to realize that until they make the lives of racing greyhounds a lot better, their business will be on the decline. A more humane approach to greyhounds and a renovation of the image of greyhound racing could prove to be the answer.

After all, dog sports need to be dog-friendly!

Until then, there are many amateur dog races, held purely for the fun of watching dogs race one another. In fact, even your dog can become an amateur racer – as long as it is fun for both you and the dog!

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