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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2 thoughts on “The clinching evidence for a complete ban on greyhound racing

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  2. I’m wondering how the American Greyhound Council can maintain that “fewer than one-half of one percent of all racing starts result in injuries” when neither the state of Florida nor the Council itself actually keeps records of injuries upon which any such statistic could be based.

    And even if we assume for the moment that that statistic has any validity whatsoever, a typical racetrack will have upwards of 100 “racing starts” (i.e. number of races times number of dogs per race) in a typical racing day. Multiply that by a dozen racetracks in Florida and (let’s say) four racing days per week, and then take half a percent of the total. That’s a conservative estimate of 24 injuries per week.

    Or let’s look at just one track – Bonita Springs in Naples, Florida. The state’s crazy casino laws require them, as a condition of being allowed to operate a casino, to run 410 schedules of eight races per year, according to media reports. That’s 3,280 races times 8 dogs, or 26,240 “racing starts”. At the rate of half a percent, that would be over 130 racing injuries a year. More than one every three days, and that’s just at one track.

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