Dog racing is cruel and inhumane. At commercial racetracks, thousands of dogs endure lives of terrible confinement and suffer serious injuries.
In the racing industry, dogs are confined in small cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around for long hours each day. Hundreds of dogs are kept in warehouse style kennels at each track.
Greyhounds are routinely injured at commercial racetracks, including dogs that suffer broken legs, cardiac arrest, spinal cord paralysis and broken necks. Unfortunately, not all of these injuries are reported to the public because some states do not even keep records on the number of dogs injured each year.
Greyhound racing is a dying industry. This decline is due to increased public awareness that dog racing is cruel and inhumane, in addition to competition from other forms of gambling.
At racetracks across the country, dogs are fed a diet based on "4-D" meat. This is meat derived from dying, diseased, disabled and dead livestock that has been deemed unfit for human consumption.
There are 300 greyhound breeding facilities and kennels in the United States. Females are impregnated, many through artificial insemination, and their puppies ears are tattooed with registration information at a few months of age. While at these breeding facilities, dogs are often kept outside, in large dirt pens with minimal shelter.
As dog tracks close, the number of greyhounds bred for racing continues to shrink. A total of 10,657 individual dogs were registered to race in 2013 as compared to 26,277 in 2003, a decline of 59%.
Greyhounds are Killed When They are No Longer Profitable
Thousands of dogs are killed when they are injured or are no longer fast enough to be profitable. According to a 2009 estimate from the pro-racing National Greyhound Association, as many as 3,000 greyhounds are killed annually.
Greyhounds Are Transported in a Dangerous Manner
Because dogs typically compete at several racetracks during their career, professional haulers transport large numbers of dogs from one racetrack to another. During this process, dogs are transported in cramped conditions, and in some cases undergo cross-country trips in unventilated, aluminum trailers or rental vans.
In recent years, there have been several media-documented cases of racing dogs dying during transport.
Economic Pressure Leads to
To racetrack promoters, dogs are short-term investments. Even the fastest dogs only race for a few years, and are expected to generate enough profit during that time to make up for their total costs.
The pressure to generate profits can lead to negligent care. Adoption groups often receive dogs in a general state of neglect, including dogs suffering from severe infestations of fleas, ticks, and internal parasites.
To cut costs, dogs are fed raw 4-D meat from dying, diseased, disabled and dead livestock. This meat is deemed unfit for human consumption.
The quality of veterinary care a dog receives can also be compromised by financial considerations.
Greyhounds Race in Extreme Weather Conditions
At commercial racetracks, dogs race on the hottest days of summer and the coldest days of winter. These extreme weather conditions can contribute to racing injuries.
Some Greyhounds are Trained With Live Animals, Such as Rabbits
Some members of the dog racing industry believe that training dogs with live animals, such as rabbits, causes them to run faster when competing. While the industry has publicly denounced this practice, it does still occur. In 2002 a greyhound breeder and owner had his state license suspended after he was caught using domestic rabbits to train his dogs. At least 180 rabbits were found at his kennel in rural Arizona. In 2011, a Texas greyhound trainer surrendered his license after he was caught on video using live rabbits to train dogs.
Some Trainers Give Greyhounds Performance Enhancing Drugs
Because commercial dog tracks are dependent on gambling revenue, there is always a risk that the integrity of races will be compromised by the use of performance enhancing drugs.
In 2002, Wisconsin state officials secretly filmed a greyhound trainer injecting 11 dogs before races with a foreign substance they believed to be boldenone, an anabolic steroid derived from testosterone. There have also been multiple recent cases of racing greyhounds testing positive for cocaine.
Greyhound Racing Should be Phased Out
Like all dogs, greyhounds deserve to be protected. Until dog racing is outlawed, greyhounds will continue to be confined in small cages for long hours each day, they will continue to suffer serious injuries, and will continue to face the risk of neglect and death.
It is time for citizens to stand up and say “enough is enough.” Please add your voice to the growing chorus of people who believe that it is wrong to treat dogs in this cruel manner.