Monday, March 7, 2011

When the Tail Wags the Greyhound

A few days ago I wrote about a dog racing supporter named Leslie Wootten who posed as an independent journalist, and is now publishing a series of "articles" on greyhound adoption and dog racing in other countries. Wootten is not an independent journalist at all, but is in fact a greyhound racing supporter and the daughter of a former dog track executive.

With this biased background, it should surprise no one that her "articles" are nothing more than a thinly-veiled assault on greyhound protection advocates. Specifically, her "articles" claim that efforts to end greyhound racing are somehow causing greyhounds to be harmed elsewhere. On this point, Wootten writes:
Make no mistake, some individuals from other countries have purchased Greyhounds with owner consent, but other Greyhounds have slipped through the cracks, unwitting products of Grey2K’s doctrinaire cause to stop what they call “the cruelty of Greyhound racing.”
This kind of logic is like the tail wagging the greyhound. The fact is, American greyhound breeders have been selling dogs to other countries for decades, long before GREY2K USA existed. For example:
All of these cases occurred years, sometimes decades, before GREY2K USA formed as a non-profit organization. The sad truth is, some greyhound breeders will apparently do just about anything to profit from these beautiful animals, including selling them to countries with even worse standards of care. Of course, the responsibility for this poor decision rests solely with the greyhound breeder who makes the decision, not with anyone else.

This lack of responsibility is yet another reason why greyhound racing must end. Prohibiting greyhound racing in the United States will help fight the international trafficking in greyhounds by making it harder for American breeders to profit from their cruel businesses. In fact, between 2002 and 2010 the breeding of greyhounds for racing in the United States dropped by a staggering 53%.

GREY2K USA opposes the transfer of greyhounds to any country in the world, and will keep working until the cruelty of dog racing ends everywhere. As a country we should demonstrate leadership in this regard, and urge the global community to follow our lead.

Instead, Wootten would have us adopt a policy that amounts to acquiescence to the lowest common denominator. Using her logic, no injustice should ever be abolished in our community if it happens to also take place somewhere else.

This is not leadership. Instead, it is twisted logic used in an effort to perpetuate cruelty.


  1. I'm curious as to what kind of rules & regulations there are for owners who breed greyhounds for racing? It seems to me that as long as this kind of "activity" occurs, (and lets be honest, not all track dog owners/breeders do the humane thing) there should at least be some kind of regulating as to keeping the cruelty & inhumane treatment of greyhounds @ bay until this so called "sport" comes to an end. This includes the buying & selling of greyhounds for racing internationally as well! Where are the rules!?!

  2. Hi Maria,

    Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, there are no rules or regulations that exist to address this issue. The dogs are property and their "owners" may do what they wish with them.

    Racetracks are governed by state racing commissions, but the primary mission of such agencies is to prevent race fixing. This is the reason for drug testing requirements, for example. Tests are not done with the dog in mind, but rather to assure the bettor that the race is fair.

    In terms of greyhound farms, these are private businesses and racing commissions have no authority over them at all.

    Basically, greyhound racing has always been and would continue to be a self-regulated activity in terms of humane issues -- until we stop it. Christine Dorchak