Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Victory for the Dogs: Watch the Video Greyhound Breeders Don't Want You to See

A greyhound lives outside at an Oklahoma breeding facility
On Christmas morning, greyhound advocates won a major victory when the Secret Life of Greyhound Puppies was restored by YouTube. This video documents the greyhound breeding industry as never before, and includes photographs that were taken by local officials, greyhound breeders, and owners, at facilities in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and West Virginia.  This video is the first real glimpse into the secretive greyhound breeding industry, and shows puppies being tattooed at a few months of age, puppies kept outside with just small buildings for shelter, and breeding dogs enduring lives of confinement.

The video was temporarily removed from YouTube earlier this month after a greyhound breeder filed a false copyright claim. We immediately responded to this claim, and asserted our fair use and free speech rights. Yesterday, our response was accepted and the video was fully restored.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that greyhound breeders would go to extreme lengths to prevent the public from seeing how greyhounds live. However, GREY2K USA will not be deterred by these cynical tactics. I predicted that we would win this challenge when it was filed, and noted that we have won every such challenge we have faced.

Please watch The Secret Life of Greyhound Puppies today, then forward it to everyone you know. Let's send dog race promoters a message that they cannot silence us, and we will continue to be a strong voice for the greyhounds.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

GREY2K USA Investigates Dog Racing Down Under

A greyhound waits to race in Auckland, New Zealand
Over the past few years GREY2K USA has researched dog racing abroad, looking for opportunities to collaborate with other animal protection groups in efforts to end this cruelty. In large part, this international effort has been led by board member Charmaine Settle. Charmaine supported our recent investigation of dog racing in the United Kingdom, and has also personally taken fact-finding trips to Macau and Vietnam. We learned a tremendous amount from these investigations.

Charmaine just returned home from her most recent investigative trip, this time to Australia and New Zealand. Today, there are more than eighty operational greyhound racetracks in Australia, along with seven dog tracks in New Zealand. Thousands of greyhounds are bred for the racing industry, and breeders regularly export racing dogs to tracks in other countries including China's Canidrome, where all the dogs are killed when they stop racing. Thankfully, there is now hope that greyhounds Down Under may soon see better days.

Tasmania and Australia

Charmaine started her trip in Tasmania with a visit to Anne Lloyd-Jones, Australian Director for the Animals Asia Foundation. She spoke with Anne about our continuing efforts to help greyhounds in both Australia and China, and our Rescue Brooklyn campaign. Anne has been an important ally in our effort to close the Canidrome racetrack in Macau.

After visiting Tasmania, Charmaine went to Sydney where she met with greyhound adoption advocates Peter and Janet Flann, founders of Greyhound Rescue Australia. These advocates told Charmaine about some of the challenges Australian rescue groups face, including near-impossible standards that greyhounds must meet in order to be given a chance to be adopted. Coupled with that, no official records are kept for the dogs that are not deemed adoptable. These advocates also shared assertions regarding humane issues in the Australian racing industry, including the claim that the vast majority of greyhounds are killed when they are no longer profitable, and the claim that some veterinarians will euthanize greyhounds for a reduced fee and then sell their blood for profit. Charmaine heard similar claims by other greyhound advocates during her trip.
Greyhounds prepare to race at Wentworth Park in Sydney

While in Sydney, Charmaine also met with Animals Australia Senior Campaigner Jeroen van Kernebeek. Jeroen has also been a key ally in our effort to stop the export of Australian greyhounds to the Canidrome in Macau. Together, Charmaine and Jeroen went to Wentworth Park to see races and speak to members of the Australian dog racing industry. Wentworth is considered a high grade track, and and sells itself as a social environment rather than as a gambling facility.

Charmaine and Jeroen were given a tour of Wentworth by the track's marketing director, who provided them with statistics about the track's total handle and supposed economic impact. The track official was unable, however, to provide any data regarding the number of greyhounds adopted or euthanized.

Charmaine noted that greyhound racing exists in Australia in large part due to the high volume of off-track betting facilities. Dog races are commonly broadcast at local restaurants, sports bars and pubs, and receive much more public exposure than they do in the United States.

New Zealand

After departing Australia, Charmaine traveled to New Zealand where she met with greyhound advocate Lynn Charlton. Lynn told Charmaine about her experience working with investigative reporters at 60 Minutes to document problems at New Zealand dog tracks, including Manukau Stadium. In a groundbreaking report, 60 Minutes recently found that hundreds of dogs are being injured each year at New Zealand tracks, and many greyhounds are being killed.

Greyhound advocate Aaron Cross
A day after meeting Lynn, Charmaine went to Manukau Stadium to see the track for herself. Since Manukau had just been featured in the 60 Minutes report, she understood why there was tension in the air as she watched some of the races and walked around the track taking photographs. She sensed the facility was on high alert, and that officials were monitoring her closely. Upon leaving Manakau, she wrote:
"Why was there an air of extreme paranoia at the track? What are they trying to hide? What might I find out? These, I'm convinced, are questions the public will get answers to as more information is exposed on how greyhounds are exploited, suffer and die in New Zealand."
Finally, before returning home Charmaine visited with greyhound advocate Aaron Cross of the Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand. Aaron has raised important questions about the large number of greyhounds that go unaccounted for, and was extensively interviewed in the recent 60 Minutes investigation. He also recently launched a petition for an independent inquiry into the New Zealand dog racing industry, an important effort that we fully support.

Returning Home

Throughout her travels, Charmaine was encouraged by the greyhound advocacy community Down Under, which grows in strength with each passing day. Already, there are many committed people who are working hard to give the greyhounds a voice.

As we look at the global dog racing industry, time and again we see this trend. Whether it's in Macau, New Zealand or Massachusetts, the rise of commercial dog racing inevitably leads to local opposition, and a grassroots movement to protect greyhounds.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Animal Protection Groups From All Over the World Calling for Change at Macau Dog Track

More than a year has passed since we reached out to the Canidrome dog track in Macau, and asked them to make positive improvements for the greyhounds. Although there have been hopeful signs that change may soon occur, the track has so far used a delay strategy in hopes the greyhound debate would just go away. That is not going to happen.

Two weeks ago, we joined Animals Australia, Animals Asia, and ANIMA and together sent a letter to every major animal protection organization in the world. We urged these humane groups to join together as one unified voice, and intensify the pressure on the Canidrome. In part, we told these organizations:
"Although we feel optimistic that a humane solution may be found for the dogs at the Canidrome in time, this will only come about through sustained international pressure on the governments of Macau and Australia ... We are confident that if the global animal welfare community stands together and speaks up for the greyhounds in Macau, this is one cruelty that can end."
The response to this call to action has been overwhelming. So far, more than two dozen major humane groups have agreed to help, including Humane Society International, the International Fund for Animal Welfare Australia, SPCA Auckland, GreytExploitations, the League Against Cruel Sports, the National Greyhound Adoption ProgramGreyhound Rescue Holland and World Animal Net. These compassionate organizations are directly contacting the governments of Macau and Australia, and asking them to close the Canidrome and end the export of greyhounds from Australia to Macau. Many of these groups are also asking their supporters to weigh in.

This incredible wave of support for the greyhounds in Macau is humbling. It also gives me great hope that we are on the verge of a major breakthrough. However, to win this effort we will need the help of everyone who cares about greyhounds. Please assist this effort today by doing two things:
  • Send a polite e-mail to Macau Chief Executive Dr. Chui Sai On at, and ask that the Canidrome be permanently closed.
  • Send a polite e-mail to Australia's Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig at, and ask him to immediately halt the export of greyhounds to Macau.
Finally, I sent a letter today to the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau and asked them to determine whether Brooklyn the greyhound is still alive. According to the Canidrome, Brooklyn was injured in his last race, and has not competed in seven months. I hope he is still alive, but fear that he may not be. Once we hear from the government, we will share any news we receive on his current status.

It has been a long road in our fight to help the greyhounds in Macau. But together, I know we can see it through to the end and make life better for these dogs.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Greyhound Breeders Can't Handle the Truth

One of the photos that greyhound breeders don't want you to see
Earlier this week we released The Secret Life of Greyhound Puppies, a groundbreaking new video that documents the greyhound breeding industry. In a matter of hours, more than two thousand people watched this video and saw for themselves how greyhound puppies live.

Across the country thousands of young greyhounds are kept outside in dirt pens and are tattooed at a young age. Meanwhile, breeding dogs endure lives of confinement in small cages. This is a sad reality of the greyhound racing industry, and something we are working to change.

Yesterday, The Secret Life of Greyhound Puppies was temporarily removed from YouTube after greyhound breeder Wendy Brotherton filed a false copyright complaint. We immediately responded to this false claim, and expect the video to be fully restored soon.

This is not the first time that dog race promoters have tried to intimidate us and prevent the public from seeing what happens to greyhounds. In fact, we have faced similar false complaints repeatedly over the years. Every single time, we have fought these false complaints and won. Most notably, we won a lawsuit by dog track owner Charlie Sarkis in which he wrongly claimed he had been defamed. In addition to winning the case, the court ordered Sarkis to pay our full attorneys fees as a penalty for his misrepresentation.

America was founded, in part, on the public right to freedom of speech. When it comes to copyrights, citizens have a fair use for certain uses such as education and public participation. At GREY2K USA, we document the greyhound racing industry in unprecedented ways, and give the public accurate information that allows them to cast informed votes and make good consumer choices. We are proud of our record, and know that our best days are ahead of us.

Finally, it shouldn't surprise anyone that greyhound breeders would resort to extreme measures to hide their cruelty. They have a long track record of trying to intimidate lawmakers, greyhound advocates, and the greyhound adoption community. One thing is certain, though. With your support, we won't let them get away with it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Secret Life of Greyhound Puppies

A greyhound mother with her puppies
Thanks to the hard work of local adoption groups, the public has become increasingly familiar with greyhounds and their gentle nature. Few of us, however, know what life is like for greyhound puppies in the racing industry.

I'm hopeful this will start to change today with the release of a new video, The Secret Life of Greyhound Puppies, which documents the greyhound breeding industry as never before. This new video contains photographs that were taken between 2006 and 2012 by local officials, greyhound breeders, and owners, at facilities in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and West Virginia.

The Secret Life of Greyhound Puppies shows greyhound puppies being tattooed at a few months of age, puppies kept outside with just small buildings for shelter, and breeding dogs enduring lives of confinement.  Some of the photographs in this new video were taken by county officials at an Oklahoma greyhound breeding farm owned by Kay Smith, one of the largest greyhound breeders in the country. These Oklahoma photographs are being publicly released today for the first time.
A greyhound puppy being tattooed

I'm confident that the more people know about commercial greyhound racing, the better things will be for greyhounds. Please watch our new video today, and then share it with others. Together, we can make real changes for these sweet dogs, and move closer to the day when greyhound racing ends completely.