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 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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HSUS Video: Tennessee walking horse rescue

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This video is from last April, but it is certainly worth sharing now. The HSUS took park in the rescue of about 19 Tennessee walking horses who had been abused by the horrible practice of “soring.”

For those not familiar with this phrase, it involves putting a burning chemical on the horse’s lower legs, so that it exaggerates the high-stepping motion with the front legs. It is the typical actions we see in industries where animals are used for profit or for winner contests. In this case, it happens to be horse shows.

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Decoupling of greyhound racing gains more media attention

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In Florida and Iowa efforts are underway to decouple greyhound racing from casinos, where the races are unbelievably require by law to exist and the dog-racing industry is getting huge subsidies/kickbacks that could go to other programs.

Thankfully, we are seeing forward movement in efforts to end dog racing, saving so many greyhounds from a life of being used as profit machines for a dark corner of the gambling industry. If people are going to gamble, why not let it be on sports, cards, dice or slot machines.

I am also really pleased to see the heightened level of press coverage we’re seeing on this subject. It ranges from information about the idiotic requirements for a set number of races to the huge amount of money being handed over to the industry every year to the unacceptable number of greyhounds deaths each year.

First up, let’s go to the other side, for a bit of strange support for the industry. The Quad-City Times ran an editorial today from an attorney for the Iowa dog racing industry.

He writes:

Despite the greyhound industry’s critical role in enabling these racinos to make hundreds of millions of dollars, they no longer want to have to share it with their “spouses” (the racing industry).

Huh?? – What?? – Dog racing is bleeding losses and is costing taxpayers and the casinos big money. If this was not true, the casinos would never ask for the decoupling to take place. I can’t even believe anyone would make that statement.

And it seems Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad also disagrees with the racing attorney. The Des Moines Register quotes Branstad as calling greyhound racing “a dying industry.” Great stuff, Gov – including the use of the phrase “industry” as opposed to “sport.” Dog racing and horse racing are NOT sports.

I’ve noted many times that dog racing could never be a sport and horse racing could only be a sport if the horses rode on the backs of the jockeys.

Branstad supports the shutdown of the state’s two casino tracks in Dubuque and Council Bluffs and opposes a proposed agreement that would allow a dog track to open elsewhere.

Here’s the great quote:

“Dog racing is dying throughout the country,” Branstad said.  “It doesn’t seem to make sense to open another track when it is a dying industry.”

The Des Moines Register also reports on the formation of a new group – “Iowans for Ending Dog Racing.”

Greater Dubuque Development Corp. President Rick Dickinson – according to the blog post – is referenced in the following –

He said the only thing keeping dog racing alive in Iowa is $13 million in annual subsidies from Iowa’s casinos.

The opposition to dog racing is growing in West Virginia, where a casino vice president is speaking out against racing mandates.

In Florida, where a movement is also underway to decouple dog racing, Robin Ganzert, the head of the American Humane Association, is speaking out concerning the inhumane treatment of the dogs.

The publication Clay Today out of Florida ran a piece today under the headline – “Greyhound Racing Fading to Black.”

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A ban is close on dog racing in Colorado; but the news is not so good out of Iowa

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Great news tonight out of Colorado, where a bill to officially ban greyhound racing in the state is only the governor’s signature away from becoming law.

The state does not currently have an operating dog track, but this will prevent any comeback bid.

One step at a time and one victory at a time for the dogs.

But in Iowa a proposed amendment to a bill that would allow the casinos to drop greyhound racing, would allow dog tracks to open elsewhere. With this latest move, a state Senate committee tabled the bill.

So once again we see political debate or lobbying efforts block animal-welfare legislation. And the suffering and deaths go on.


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Important new terminology coined for behavioral condition

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We all see the news accounts of celebrities and regular Joes engaged in really stupid activities – from drunk driving to substance abuse to other extreme behavior. We all read about the votes cast by politicians and the statements some of them make, based on warped ideas.

We all see the completely illogical statements made by those fighting against legal protections for animals, to shield them from horrible abuse. We can come up with countless examples of people doing really stupid things.

But until now, science did not have all-encompassing term to cover these behaviors or actions. Let’s call the condition – “Self-Inflicted Brain Deficiency Syndrome.”

Th condition can be cured with an injection of common sense. But when the condition is advanced, the subject’s brain can reject common sense.

A number of young celebrities bouncing around the headlines of late have Self-Inflicted Brain Deficiency Syndrome. They are following the dead-end path so many others before them followed. But they can’t see it, because they choose to have Self-Inflicted Brain Deficiency Syndrome.

Congressman Steve King, who has expressed opposition to animal-welfare bills, including those that would make it federal crime to attend a dog fight. Steve King has Self-Inflicted Brain Deficiency Syndrome. Okay, it’s possible that in some cases, it isn’t self-inflicted.


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Videos show dogs trying to revive friends

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I received a link today to a video showing a dog trying to revive his friend, who had been struck and killed on a highway. (I won’t post the video here, as it is too emotional.)

I noticed a few other videos on the YouTube page with the same theme and the thoughts that this shows dogs showing compassion for others. I am a true believer. The dogs are shown pawing or nuzzling their friends or licking them, trying to revived them – and sitting close by.

It offers more evidence, above the already irrefutable evidence that dogs (and other animals) do have self-awareness and a state of consciousness.


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The clinching evidence for a complete ban on greyhound racing

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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.”

So 74 deaths in seven months is acceptable because of the huge number of races held? I’m sure drunk drivers who kill people would love to use this sort of illogical defense. They would love to tell the jury that it’s not so bad that they killed someone, because they’ve driven drunk hundreds of times and passed thousands of cars in the process.
Trying to justify the horrible number of greyhound deaths with percentages ranks as one the worst excuses in history.
And then get this little tidbit from the release:
Greyhound breeders and kennel operators have adopted some of the toughest self-regulatory standards of any animal industry.
As we say in the South – “That ain’t sayin’ much.” It would be like the 2013 Oakland Raiders touting success by saying, “We won more games than Houston.”
What the numbers really tell us goes to the horrible level of deaths in greyhound racing. The numbers tell us the tragedy has gone on far too long. Tomorrow is the best day to ban greyhound racing – forever. Thankfully, groups like GREY2K USA are working to this goal.
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Misspeak of the Week: Iowa Senator on greyhound racing

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One of the biggest misspeaks of the week goes to Iowa Sen. Jeff Danielson (D-Cedar Falls), who was quoted by as saying a quicker phase-out of greyhound racing in the state would “be irresponsible.”

Senator Danielson must have been misquoted or must have misspoke – right? Does he realize that it is the greyhound racing industry itself that is irresponsible? The faster we can end greyhound racing, the faster it is that the dogs can be rescued and adopted into loving homes. It is irresponsible and cruel to allow the suffering and the injuries and the deaths to continue for another day.

Maybe he was misquoted, because otherwise it seems he does not understand the meaning of the word.

And the article published Feb. 13 reports Danielson and a Senate committee will look into a second draft of legislation that would allow casinos in Iowa to drop greyhound racing. But this second version was developed by the Iowa Greyhound Association (a breeder group).

The dog-racing industry should be the last group considered for input on legislation that could impact animal welfare.

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BBC Video: Proof that calling some politicians “bird-brained” is an insult to birds

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In the BBC video posted below, a complex puzzle is set up in an attempt to stump a crow. These birds are well-known for their intelligence and use of tools.

The crow’s problem-solving skills are amazing, which begs the questions: Should we elect crows to Congress? Could they do a better job of solving the economic problems the nation faces? Could they do a better job of promoting renewable and green energy sources? Could crows enact better protections for the environment? Would crows reject bribes from Big Oil and other special interests? Would crows be able to overturn the horrible Citizens United Supreme Court ruling with new legislation?

The answer, based on the video and other evidence collected over time, is a resounding YES to all of the above. Of course, even if the birds sat around all day and did nothing but eat treats, we would no worse off than we are now.

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