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.

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West Virginia could drop greyhound racing with new bill

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It’s not a great solution, as millions of dollars would go into a buyout plan, but a new bill in the West Virginia legislature could finally spell and end of greyhound racing in another state.

I don’t like the idea of the state handing over $36.5 million to breeders and owners. But these same individuals would otherwise continue to make money off the dogs who are facing injuries and deaths every day.

The WV Gazette notes the bill text in part reads –

“ … it is in the best interest of the state of West Virginia and the West Virginia greyhound racing entities to cease greyhound racing in West Virginia, and to compensate the West Virginia greyhound racing entities for their investment.”

There are also provisions to help the dogs who will be rescued when the tracks close. So $600,000 will go to no-kill shelters.
At least it seems the money that goes to the breeders and owners will come from gambling. That money could go to other funds that help people or animals in need, but this seems to be the best, most direct path to saving more dogs.
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Legislation Update: Greyhound racing, puppy mills and animal cruelty

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There has been some positive movement around the map of late, on greyhound racing to animal-cruelty laws.

South Dakota finally joined the ranks of the states with felony animal cruelty laws, becoming the 50th state to enact more serious punishment for severe acts of cruelty to animals.

Thanks to the recent passage of SB 46, cockfighting also becomes a felony in South Dakota and the HSUS reports it is now a felony in 41 states.

GREY2K USA’s Carey Theil reviewed recent legislation on greyhound racing in his Saving Greys blog. Colorado officially banned dog racing this month and West Virginia could cut racing subsidies by 10 percent.

The Iowa State House could hopefully vote soon on a bill to decouple dog racing from the two casinos in the state and in Florida, a bill could help reduce the number of races there. And thankfully, we’re seeing injury reports in Florida that should shine more light on the horrors taking place.

The West Virginia legislation will cut “infrastructure, thoroughbred development, greyhound racing and the racetrack modernization fund” by 10 percent, according to Thankfully, the bill passed in a big way.

It’s a small step in the right direction But we need to see a complete ban. This most-recent move was prompted by budget concerns. The state could move closer to a balanced budget and end the suffering for the dogs by completely banning dog racing.

In Virginia, at last report, Baily’s Law is only waiting for Governor McAuliffe’s signature. The bill would require pet dealers to reimburse particular veterinary fees within 14 days, for pets they have sold who later require care. And pet stores will be required to reveal the identity of the breeders they use.

Another good step to cut down on puppy mill breeding, but why not ban the sale of pets in stores and why not require breeders across the board to cover veterinary care in cases where a puppy or kitten is found to have genetic problems or health problems that are a result of breeding practices?


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Greyhound and horse breeders mad about proposed cut in subsidies

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Breeders of race horses and greyhounds are mad that they won’t get as much free taxpayer money from the West Virginia lottery, under a new bill. I wonder if putting more of the funds into programs where they should go – for education or mental health programs, etc – seems unfair to these breeders.

The breeders would get 15 percent less in subsidies under the plan. And make no mistake that this is taxpayer funds we’re talking about, even though it’s a voluntary tax through the lottery. State lottery profits should go to programs that benefit people and animals.

The WV Gazette article includes the following:

Racing industry representatives contend the cut would be the final blow to horse and dog racing at the state’s four racetrack casinos.

So the industry can’t exist without the subsidies, funneled away from other programs. And even a 15 percent cut would mean an end to both racing industries; this from the industry insiders.

What does this really mean? It means the general population gets it and fewer and fewer people are gambling on animal races, as they understand the history of abuse. They know race horses have ended up in slaughterhouses and have been found to have been drugged. And they know untold numbers of greyhounds never made it out alive.

If an industry’s business is so bad that it cannot survive without subsidies, it’s time for it to go away. Why would two industries with a history of animal exploitation somehow get this level of government protection? I’m sure other struggling businesses would love to have the government ensure they never fail.

The WV Gazette article notes the racing industry received 87.6 million in Lottery subsidies last year.

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Big month for greyhound racing news

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Iowa could take a big step in the direction of ending greyhound racing in the state. The Newton Daily News reports the Dubuque City Council will ask the state government to drop the mandate on holding dog races at Mystique Casino.

The article includes this paragraph:

But since then, city officials said, the greyhound racing industry has fallen into a “death spiral,” turning the once lucrative track into a financial drag.

Certainly, the racing greyhounds across the nation face a death spiral every day. But the article also notes $4.5 million in subsidies was handed over to the state’s racing industry last year and over the last three decades, $55 million has been diverted from “charitable organizations and the city’s capital projects fund.”

The state pulled money earmarked for charities and gave it to the dog-racing industry? Who could do something like that?

At the Mardi Gras Casino in Charleston, W.Va., allegations are out concerning a track employee abusing greyhounds. The accused told a commission he was having a bad day.

The Charleston Gazette reports:

… 4,700 greyhounds were injured at the state’s two dog-racing tracks within the past five years. More than 1,400 of those injuries were catastrophic, career-ending injuries, according to the study.

In Australia, the news is extremely horrible. The Illawarra Mercury ran an article Monday concerning the disappearance of thousands of greyhound puppies each year. In 2011 alone, 3,440 puppies were born but went missing before they were named.

This has been the fear about dog racing for many, many years – that puppies are “culled” before even being given the chance to survive. It is estimated that 28 percent of the Australian racing dogs are killed as puppies.

And then there is the following from the article:

Other submissions told of abuse of dogs kept in bare paddocks with little care and no socialisation. Some were kennelled in darkness to control barking and had Velcro attached to their paws to stop them making noise.

The article suggests injured dogs or those deemed too slow for racing are killed by the thousands each year.

The stories out of New Zealand are horrible as well. A Yahoo Sports article from Nov. 15 quotes an animal-welfare advocate as saying dogs there are killed when they are no longer of value to the industry.

And yet – somehow – greyhound racing continues. And states such as Florida and Iowa are not just ignoring the horrors, the elected officials there are in full support, requiring the industry to exist.

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Scab ripped off of West Virginia greyhound racing

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For a long, long time, any logical or moral defense of greyhound racing has been non-existent. And as more news comes pouring out of the industry – in the United States and overseas – the evidence that should lead to a complete shutdown of dog racing is abundantly clear.

The situation in West Virginia only adds to the evidence. Thanks to the work of GREY2K USA, a new report on dog racing in the state is getting out to the public. From 2008 through June of 2013, 289 greyhounds lost their lives due to injuries or other issues at two tracks. And of course, this does not account for the dogs who simply failed at racing. What happened to those who never made it to rescue groups?

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which partially funded the reported, also deserves a ton of credit for exposing this industry for what it is.

Back on the two tracks, nearly 4,800 injuries were suffered from 2008 to June of this year. Over the five-and-a-half year span, over 1,400 greyhounds suffered injuries that ended their so-called “careers.”

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