Misguided new program in Australia puts more greyhounds at risk

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I was stunned when an article popped up Tuesday night on the Pack News Wire, concerning a so-called “Masters” greyhound racing program in Australia.

Some dogs will be forced to raced past the typical age when they are shut down from racing. The stark cluelessness on the part of the racing industry plays out in the following paragraph from the piece posted on the TheDogs website.

Masters racing is an important initiative that prolongs the careers of NSW racing greyhounds and reiterates GRNSW’s commitment to greyhound welfare by maximising the racing opportunities available.

The nerve of suggesting this is a commitment to the welfare of the dogs is sickening at best.

The industry will try anything, from propaganda and more, to keep this horrible industry afloat.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

News media stepping up of late, in exposing greyhound racing

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It’s been an impressive month or so in the news media, in terms of focusing on greyhound racing, as the horrible industry it really is.

The public across the board is against it and only a tiny segment of gamblers support it. So the only roadblocks remaining are the lobbyists and the few politicians in states like Florida who continue to block important legislation that might shut down the tracks for good.

How these few state legislatures can continue to hand over state funds to this industry and offer it protections no other industry enjoys is beyond belief. This industry should be shut down today, across the globe.

So this week, I’ll be reviewing some of the media coverage. Let’s start with an editorial from the Pensacola News Journal, posted Tuesday on the News-Press.com site.

The writer notes enforcement is “almost nonexistent” from the Florida Division of Parimutuel Wagering, in regard to rules that should ban or suspend those convicted of a felony or of abusing animals. (More on this in an upcoming post.)

Since a new reporting law went into effect last year in Florida, 93 racing greyhound deaths occurred. In a single year – 93 dogs were killed. And this doesn’t include the injuries or I fear, the dogs killed before they even began their racing days.

The editorial goes on to suggest an end to dog racing is a “moral imperative.” It is an incredibly important phrase to use. The state legislature needs to step up in its next session and take the moral path, in at least decoupling dog racing from the casinos.

Greyhound racing can no longer exist in this country without being propped up by public funds and the few state laws that require casinos to hold races. It’s crazy – despite the reports on the troubling rate of deaths and injuries and the history of abuse, some elected officials are still supporting dog racing.

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Two articles point to fall of greyhound racing

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Two stories posted on one website – AL.com – on July 27 touched on the downturn for the greyhound racing industry. Despite what any industry insider might want to claim, it is education that has the dog-racing industry playing to empty seats.

I’ve never gambled on anything more than a couple of lottery tickets over the course of my entire life. But for those into this sort of thing, I’m sure it seems better to gamble on cards, dice or machines, as opposed to the life or the suffering of dogs.

The first article was by AL.com writer Jon Reed. He reports the Birmingham Race Course in Alabama “is in a daily fight for its life” – as is the case for the other dog-racing tracks around the nation.

And get this, back in May, the track was reportedly three years behind on paying property taxes and requested $800,000 from the racing commission to pay off the debt.

The second article posted was from the Associated Press and it notes the day the writer was there, only a couple of dozen people were in the stands to watch the races at Flagler Dog Track in Florida.

The writer rightfully notes dog racing has been “propped up by casino gambling.” YES – other forms of gambling have not hurt greyhound racing. These other forms are actually holding racing up, as the states where it exists, the casinos are unbelievably required to hold races.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Media focused of late on the end of greyhound racing in the US

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Good news this week. The media has flashed a scattering of pieces across the web of late, on the end of greyhound racing. Some of the articles basically go into the possibility that the market could ultimately spell the end.

It would be a bit of justice for the unpopularity of the industry to finally lead to its downfall. And the dog racing insiders know it. They are battling hard for the few states that still allow dog racing to continue to actually require that it exists. These insiders know that without a coupling of casinos with dog tracks, the industry would crumble into the basement of history.

The Associated Press ran a story Wednesday reporting on a “couple dozen” people at a recent race at the 7,000-seat Flagler Dog Track in Florida. And the owner is quoted in the article as saying on a so-called “good day”, only about 100 people attend.

So some of the elected officials in the state of Florida continue to fight to force casinos to hold events that are extremely unpopular. I’ll ask it again – What other industry, especially one so unpopular and one dipped in a history of dog deaths and abuses, enjoys a total protection to exist from states?

Why are these same elected officials not fighting for struggling stores or other industries to get these unparallelled and unprecedented state protections and subsidies and requirements that they get to remain in operation, no matter what?

AP has a news video posted about the coupling issue in Florida. Coupling – or requiring casinos hold dog races to operate as a casino is one of the most idiotic laws in the nation. And those who argue against the effort to shut down dog racing as a gambling option – with the claim that the effort is a push to expand gambling – are dizzy beyond words.

The Washington Post offered a review Wednesday from the AP on the current states that still allow dog racing.

As we see more from the national media and local media sources, we can only hope more people will be educated as to the horrors of greyhound racing.

But while the trend is moving in the right direction in most areas, in New Hampshire, some elected officials are trying to push the state backward.

The SentinelSource.com ran an article July 5 with the following troubling paragraph:

A local man who plans to open an off-track betting parlor helped lobby the N.H. Legislature to pass a law not only allowing, but requiring, live horse racing to return to the community if his business gets up and running.

So the state legislature has passed a law requiring that he gets to operate his business. Where is the state offering equal protection for other businesses?

And then we have this from the story:

During the 36 months Faucher has to open a racetrack, New Hampshire officials would escrow the taxes collected from simulcast wagering at Hinsdale OTB, according to state law.

That money would fund certain parts of live horse racing, including supervision of the races, judges, stewards and labs for tests, which can be expensive, McLaughlin said.

So am I reading this right? – Taxes collected will go back to the business, to fund the very business where the taxes are collected from?

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

The promotion of horse racing is disgusting

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This time year, with the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness coming up, some networks are busy promoting horse racing. Of course, NBC is worst offender, as it televises this nonsense every year.

Thankfully, we are seeing actual news coverage of horse racing. We just action in response to these stories.

Credit goes to the New York Times for being one of the news outlets actually engaging in journalism on this topic. Back on March 24, a story ran under the headline – “Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys.”

The subhead read – “The new economics of horse racing are making an always-dangerous game even more so, as lax oversight puts animal and rider at risk.”

The article reports an extremely troubling statistics. An average of 24 horses die at tracks across the US – EACH WEEK!

Continue reading

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Interesting new rules imposed for greyhound racing in Australia

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I’ll place the following news under the heading of “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

The Australian Associated Press reports new animal-welfare standards have been imposed on greyhound racing. The main regulation we need to keep an eye on, according to the article:

Dogs will be required to stay under the care of a registered owner for their lifetime, unless retired as a pet.

The RSPCA notes over-breeding of greyhounds has led to “a vast population of surplus unwanted dogs.” This of course is true for puppy-mill breeding and greyhound racing everywhere.

But will the industry really follow this rule? Will the industry insiders really properly care for the dogs who are not able to find loving homes? How will the dogs live who don’t find homes?

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Sebelius is out – and it’s a good thing – and your dog agrees with me

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I never supported Kathleen Sebelius having a role in any level of government and your dog agrees with me. Now that she has announced her resignation as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, I consider it the correction of a long-running mistake.

If you read this blog post to your dogs, that look on their face actually says, “Grady is right. That person is no lover of dogs.”

Admittedly, I have one, primary reason for not supporting Sebelius. She supported greyhound racing in Kansas. She didn’t merely look the other way, she openly supported dog racing. In this century, with all of the information available with a few Internet clicks, she supports dog racing.

It’s the kind of stand that – in my view – disqualifies someone from holding office. It shows a level of poor decision-making abilities. It indicates the individual has been lazy in researching information about the subject at hand.

Appointing Sebelius was a huge mistake. It ranks up there with voters in Iowa electing Rep. Steve King, who fought against regulations to punish those who attend dog fights.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Wacky columnist seems to be anti-gambling – unless dogs are involved

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Former Florida lieutenant governor Jeff Gottcamp wrote a column that ran on two websites – SunSentinel and Florida Today. In the editorial, Gottcamp seems to take an anti-gambling stance but also seems to support greyhound racing.

After reading the OpEd, I’m not sure he knows what he’s for or against – unless he’s simply pro-dog racing and this was a means to a new twist on supporting the industry. This latest push for decoupling of greyhound racing from the casinos might have turned into another way to warp the debate.

He notes voters turned down casino gambling, three times in three different decades. And he suggest a move to expand gambling in the state would violate its constitution.
Then he challenges the accurate suggestion that forcing the casinos to hold dog races violates free-market principles, by writing – “Let’s be clear — there is nothing free market about gambling. It is a highly regulated industry for a reason.”

Funny – since greyhound racing is not a highly-regulated industry at all. But then the gears are switched on the editorial and he rightfully notes the millions of dollars in tax breaks that has gone to dog racing and the casinos. But he goes around to the other side with the foll0wing:

If racetracks are free to operate as gambling facilities without being required to have live races — the very purpose for their existence — in a very short period of time we would see a massive expansion of casino-style gambling in Florida as the racetracks cut deals with casino operators.

Whhhaaaatt? The very purpose of the casinos existence is to make money off gambling. The only difference it would make, if one option for gambling no longer existed – dog racing – is that dogs would no longer suffer and die.

To suggest that simply by dropping the mandate that dog races be held somehow more gambling would follow, is more than wacky. How does he even think this stuff up? There are other motions on the Florida table for gambling, but merely ending dog racing would not directly lead to more gambling. That’s just wacky mentality.

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Breaking: Florida legislature fails to act on decoupling

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Once again, it seems very possible that enough members of the Florida legislature are willing to pull defeat from the jaws of victory – for suffering greyhounds.

A WFTV article flashed across the Pack News Wire today, reporting the bill to decouple greyhound racing from the casinos has failed. I can’t imagine why anyone, with the information we have available to us, would want to allow dog racing to continue for another day. But here we are again.

And then we have the misleading headline over a Miami Herald blog entry – “Economists: If greyhound tracks decouple, state will see revenue dip for two years.”

The writer explains some economists are saying that decoupling occurs and some tracks shut down racing, tax revenues will dip – from $78,000 to $336,000 the first year to $121,000 the second year. After that, the revenues should recover.
But it is also reported that a recent study notes – “the state spends about $4.1 million a year to regulate the industry and takes in $3.1 million in revenue — a net loss of about $1 million, according to 2012 numbers.”

So in reality, even with a reduction in tax revenues for two years, dog racing is costing the state of Florida in a big way. The state continues to prop up an industry that hurting the budget and more importantly, the dogs.

The one bit of good news is the fact another piece of legislation that would require the tracks to report serious injuries has advanced out of a committee.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Florida could be a step closer to phasing out greyhound racing

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If the Florida legislature can muster the final steps this year, we could see biggest news to date on greyhound racing. Reports out of the state indicate the legislature might drop efforts to completely transform the gambling industry in the state, in favor of going back to the proposal of decoupling dog racing from the casinos.

This move would drop the ill-advised and long-standing mandates on the number of races held and allow the casinos shut down their tracks – or at least reduce the numbers.

While I keep hoping for a complete ban on this industry – everywhere, this could be the most significant news to date. If we can see an end to dog racing in Florida, where the bulk of the industry lives, it spell the end all across the nation.

The Tampa Bay Times also reports on another important effort underway – legislation to require the tracks to report serious injuries.

The article also quotes on representative as reminding everyone that the taxpayers are subsidizing an industry that has very little support. Unfortunately, a couple of tracks have announced they will continue to hold races, to some degree. But hopefully, once the legislation is on the books, the operators will see their losses reach a point where they have to shut it down.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic