Greyhound Racing: Quote of the Month and Mislabeled “Article” of the Year

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I’m calling it the quote of the Month, but on second thought it could be a clear nominee for quote of the year. The utterance came from Matt Gaetz and was part of a NWF Daily News article.

Gaetz was referring to the state mandate in Florida that requires casinos to hold a set number of greyhound races each year. The mandate remains to this day despite the evidence of deaths and injuries to dogs and the news about the severe losses and lack of interest in the industry.

“We’re forcing a company to do what they don’t want to do by maintaining something people don’t want to participate in that happens to be barbaric.”

That is one all-encompassing, fact-based sentence. The article is long and filled with much more information.

The leader for the Mislabeled “Article” of the Year has to be the piece that ran Friday on News4Jax.com. I try to avoid calling out other writers, but this one should have been billed an editorial. Instead, it is presented as a straight news story by a “reporter.”

Maybe Mike Vasilinda intended the text to be an editorial, because it is heavily-weighted in support of the greyhound racing industry.He interviewed and quotes three pro-dog racing insiders, but includes only one, brief quote from the pro-humane side of the story – from Grey2K USA Executive Director Carey Theil.

Vasilinda twice mentions the same dollar amount in tax revenue from dog racing. But does not mention the drain on the state or the huge losses in the industry. And then he includes the following, horrible, misinformed paragraph:

State lawmakers are being asked by dog tracks to be able to stop racing dogs and simply offer card games. That would mean there’d be no place for these dogs to go.

I guess Vasilinda failed to research the number of greyhound rescue groups in the United States, even those that operate in states where greyhound racing was banned long ago. My home state banned dog racing decades ago and we have at least two greyhound rescue groups.

Flatly writing that the dogs would have no place to go is a huge error – whether he meant the piece to be an editorial or a straight news story. This is inexcusable.

 

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