We already knew dogs are dying at an alarming rate in greyhound racing and we already knew that too many of the dogs never make it out alive, despite the propaganda-like adoption percentages coming out of the industry.
But now we have the inside numbers, straight off the Florida dog tracks – the state with by far the most tracks of any state.
The Tampa Bay Times ran an article on Saturday, reporting 74 greyhounds died at Florida tracks over only a seven-month span last year. We might never have known, if not for a new regulation that went into effect last spring, requiring the tracks to report deaths.
So between May 31 and December 31, a greyhound died every three days. And do we know whether or not the numbers include dogs taken away to be killed after their racing days are over? I would suggest 74 deaths certainly does not offer the complete picture of what is going on.
But 74 deaths in seven months is best described as an extreme tragedy. And this tragedy is forced to continue by the Florida law that requires casinos to run a set number of racing each year. There is a legislative move underway to decouple the races from the casinos – or in other words, drop this idiotic requirement.
And on top of all of this is the status of the industry overall. It is bleeding losses. The Tampa Bay Times article notes the Bonita Springs track in Naples lost $2.5 million last year.
So how is the industry responding to the death numbers? The American Greyhound Council put out a press release on Tuesday. In it, the AGC states “… we are proud to report that fewer than one-half of one percent of all racing starts result in injuries, and only a tiny fraction of those result in a greyhound fatality.”
Greyhound breeders and kennel operators have adopted some of the toughest self-regulatory standards of any animal industry.