True colors of greyhound racing come out again with news about payments to breeders

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It is predictable and disgusting at the same time – the news that the West Virginia Racing Commission has handed over more than $10 million to greyhound breeders.

This dying industry is being held up to just benefit a few. The casinos could drop racing and hire the employees into the rest of the facilities. But they can’t because some elected officials in states like Florida and West Virginia are in their seats for no other reason than to benefit the few. These officials certainly are not there to represent the public and they certainly do not have any concern for animal welfare.

We should offer our thanks to the elected officials who are pushing for decoupling legislation.

The money being given to breeders could instead help with job training and caring for the dogs in need of new homes when greyhound racing shuts down for good.

And then there’s the breeding. My wife and I know of one couple in our state that has adopted four rescued racing greyhounds who all died of Osteosarcoma, a nasty form of cancer.

We have faced cancers with our rescued greyhounds. And we keep running into people at veterinary hospitals who tell their emotional stories of racing greyhounds with cancer, many at far too young an age.

When I’ve debated the pro-dog racing crowd online, they typically throw out the tired line that other big dogs get Osteosarcoma. My response includes the fact that comparing bad breeding practices with with bad breeding practices is a losing argument – every time.

And we have always argued about inbreeding. The racing insiders call it “line breeding.” But line breeding is just inbreeding on steroids. Every time we adopt a new, rescued greyhound, my wife goes on the racing site and looks up the dog’s lineage.

Way more often than not, she finds family connections to our current and previous greyhounds. And we find the same dogs are regularly listed as the parent or grandparent or great-grandparent of an unending list of dogs.

That’s inbreeding and it’s a small gene pool and both are not what we want. But in greyhound racing, the post-racing career doesn’t matter to the insiders. It’s about the profit motive.

I’ve written about cancer in dogs for many, many years and I’ve researched into the issue – a lot. Now that I have brain cancer, I plan to ramp up my efforts in speaking out against bad breeding that lead to cancers in dogs.

$10 million to breeders? That money could have gone to job training for track employs – as the state legislatures do what they should do today – shut down dog racing. Thanks to a request put in by Grey2K USA, these payments where brought to light.

The money came from the Greyhound Breeding Development Fund. It’s almost too nutty to believe. But we’ve heard enough out of racing to not be shocked.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

The warped Twilight Zone that is greyhound racing

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The Pack News Wire has been buzzing of late with news concerning greyhound racing. Much of the focus has been on the free-fall in attendance at tracks across the country and legislative efforts to either decouple racing from the casinos or end subsidies.

But some of the news goes into the strange mentality of those who either support racing or can’t see that trimming around the edges of the issue won’t help the dogs.

In Iowa, the Iowa Greyhound Association and the Iowa West Racing Association are reportedly requesting millions from a supplemental fund.

I wonder if the racing dogs will receive any aid from this fund. The deaths and injuries continue, with the only real relief coming in the form of a ban on greyhound racing.

In Idaho, a challenge is underway concerning the Post Falls Police Department’s investigation into what are known as instant racing machines. So there’s seems to be a controversy about gaming machines while not enough is being done to investigate the needs of the dogs in live racing.

It just defies logic.

And finally, we have the racing defenders who are battling against efforts to end dog racing at casinos, because it could lead to more gambling. Yes – that’s right. Dog racing supporters seem to be against other forms of gambling.

I guess cards, dice, machines and sports betting is really, really bad. But the dog racing folks feel like exploiting animals is the most righteous form of gambling. That’s warped on a grand scale.

In the article linked above, Jack Corey of the Florida Greyhound Association is quoted as saying, “Their ultimate goal is to do away with live greyhound racing and become mini casinos.”

Over the last few years, I’ve read similar statements, suggesting somehow that casinos with racing are fine. But take away the dogs and gambling is somehow tainted to a greater degree.

Again, this argument just defies reason. I’m not a gambler. I don’t bet on games or even lotteries. So while I’m not a supporter of casinos at all, I’d much rather have people betting on pro sports or tables or machines.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Two more protective curtains could be pulled off greyhound racing

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Two pieces of potential good news, in relation to greyhound racing, have been highlighted by the media this month.

In Florida, one of the dark corners the greyhound racing industry has always been able to hide in was not having to report injuries. This week, the Miami Herald reports State Senate President Andy Gardiner will push forward on a bill that would require the state’s track report injuries.

SB 2 was filed Tuesday by Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood). If track veterinarians fail to report injuries, they would be fined. I hope the fines will be substantial, to make circumventing the fines through the backdoor a tougher thing to do.

The Herald reminds us that a new law from 2013 required the tracks to report deaths. In only the first nine months of that year, 74 greyhounds died. The piece rightfully puts the numbers in context – one death every three days. That’s horrible.

The industry always tries to muddy the water by comparing deaths with the number of race starts in any given time period. That propaganda will no longer fly. Anyone with an ounce of compassion in their heart understands that a greyhound dying every three days – or 74 dying over only nine months – is a tragedy.

But what we all really want to see in Florida is at least a decoupling bill to pass into law, which would end the state mandate that casinos hold a set number of races. Even better still would be a complete ban on dog racing.

The news might be even better in West Virginia, where the state could drop subsidies for greyhound racing. Get this: the Charleston Daily Mail reports the state government will hand over $80 million this budget year to the thoroughbred and greyhound racing industries.

And there’s a swirling around for a decoupling bill there as well.

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

Pack of greyhound racing news

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The needle is moving in the positive direction in greyhound racing, as more news about the odds of shutting down the horrible industry in Iowa comes out. And hopefully, the Florida legislature will follow suit. The Herald-Tribune out of Florida ran an editorial yesterday about the decoupling effort, a move that could drop the requirement to hold dog races at casinos in the state. The next legislative session begins March 4. The editorial notes 12 of the 21 greyhound tracks in the country are in Florida. And then there’s the following tidbit about gambling dollars on dog racing, which have dropped:

… by 72 percent in Florida between 1990 and 2013. During the same period, taxes and fees paid by tracks and collected by the state dropped by 98 percent.

Again, I can’t say this enough: How could any taxpayer support the massive way a few of states have specifically supported this industry, with huge handouts and a requirement that it exist. What other business in the country gets this sort state backing – with a handouts and a guarantee they won’t be shut down, no matter how incredibly deep the losses go.

More good news is coming out of Australia, where the headline on the Young Witness website actually plays the news of greyhound racing’s decline as a bad thing. It’s seems there are ongoing funding cuts and talk of “now it’s all falling down around us” and “alleged mismanagement of the sport by GRNSW.” We can only hope the whole industry falls down – soon.

In some disgusting news out of Great Britain, a trainer is supporting a track in Wimbledon through a “Show of Passion” campaign. How about a show of “compassion” for the dogs by shutting down the industry for good.

And a great headline from Iowa ran Wednesday on TH Online website – “Negotiations would immediately end dog racing in Dubuque.”

Hopefully, an agreement is on the way that will allow both casinos in the state to end racing – with an end to the state mandates there.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

A prediction we hope comes true – the closing of six greyhound tracks

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A new report indicates six greyhound race tracks could shut down if the coupling effort is successful in Florida. The state legislature has been debating for some time the possibility of dropping the requirement that casinos there hold a set number of races each year.

Decoupling would end this requirement, which has been an ongoing effort from racing insiders to gain a level of protection no other industry enjoys. The state has for a long time required greyhound racing to exist. It was a horrible move when it was enacted and it continues to be horrible.

But thankfully, both race track owners and animal-welfare groups such as Grey2K USA are supporting the effort to decouple. It is the breeder groups and others and some members of the state legislature who are still holding on.

The News Herald article includes a wildly inaccurate statement from Mark Hess, associate manager of Ebro Greyhound Park:

“I mean there are millions of tourists that visit Panama City Beach every year, and they come from states that don’t have greyhound racing, and they really enjoy coming out and watching the dogs run.”

That’s quite a stretch, since every photo I’ve seen of late from any US dog track shows more dogs on the track than bodies in the stands. Attendance is down and betting on racing is down and dog racing is a money loser. But despite these facts and despite the suffering and death for the dogs, the state of Florida is still offering this disappointing and uncaring protection for the industry.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic