Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Plea for Dog Race Transparency in New Zealand

Last week the Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand submitted more than 1,500 signatures to the government, and asked for an independent inquiry into the dog racing industry. Specifically, the organization has asked officials to seek information on the number of greyhounds bred and imported, the number of greyhounds that are adopted and euthanized, and the number of racing dogs that suffer injuries.

This request comes only a few months after a groundbreaking investigation by television program 60 Minutes, which found that hundreds of greyhounds are disappearing every year in New Zealand. These dogs are officially being reported as "retired," even though 60 Minutes proved that in at least some cases they had actually been killed.

So far the greyhound racing industry has resisted an independent inquiry, and instead commissioned its own study. Members of Parliament should be skeptical of this review, and keep in mind that dog race promoters have a vested interest in covering up greyhound deaths.

As this debate moves forward, there is one thing I'm certain of. The Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand will continue to fight for the greyhounds, and call for change. We are proud to support its efforts, and look forward to working with this bold group in the years ahead.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Across the Country, Lawmakers Consider Bills to Help Greyhounds

Part of our job at GREY2K USA is to help pass greyhound protection laws. So far, 2013 has been a good year for the dogs, with at least four states now considering bills to further protect greyhounds. For example:
  • In Arizona, a bill has been filed to completely decouple greyhound racing from other forms of gambling. Under a law that lawmakers passed last year, the track must hold races on one hundred days per year, or enter into an agreement with kennel owners to schedule fewer races.
  • In Texas, a bill has been filed to increase the penalties for individuals in the racing industry who commit unethical acts or violate state rules. This would include individuals who are caught neglecting greyhounds.
  • Also in Texas, a proposal has been introduced that would allow the Texas Racing Commission to share information about its investigations with other state agencies.
  • In Arkansas, a bill has been filed that would allow dog track regulators to levy much larger fines for animal neglect or other violations, from the current maximum of $1,000 to $100,000.
While we fight for an end to greyhound racing, we also have an obligation to make life better for the dogs that are now in the racing industry. We support all of the above bills, and I am hopeful that many of them will become law in the coming months.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Greyhound Breeding Declines for 10th Straight Year

According to new data from the National Greyhound Association, the number of greyhounds registered to race declined again in 2012. During the year, a total of 10,157 dogs entered the racing system for the first time.

This is the tenth year in a row that the number of greyhounds bred for racing has declined. In fact, this number has been cut in half in just five years.

This drop in race dog breeding is yet another indicator that greyhound racing is a dying industry. Every year, fewer dogs are enduring lives of confinement and suffering serious injuries. Also, as the number of greyhounds bred for racing shrinks, it becomes more likely that dogs will be adopted when they are no longer profitable.

This new information is great news for animal lovers, but it is also a reminder that we must continue working. Together, I know we can make even more progress for greyhounds in the years ahead.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Path Forward for Florida's Greyhounds

Molly was rescued by GREY2K USA Board Member Kathy Pelton
Earlier this week, I gave a presentation on greyhound racing to the Florida Senate Committee on Gaming. In my testimony I gave lawmakers information on the decline of dog racing, and evidence of humane problems in the industry. I also urged them to consider three recommendations to help greyhounds: the passage of greyhound decoupling, adoption of a greyhound injury reporting law, and an end to dog race subsidies.

We have fought for these issues for many years in the Sunshine State, and are closer than ever to seeing change. Still, we have a lot of work left to do. Legislative leaders have decided to undertake a full study of gambling in the state, including greyhound racing. To accomplish this, they have appointed the Senate Committee on Gaming and the House Select Committee on Gaming.  Together, these two panels will hold hearings throughout the state, both during and after the 2013 legislative session. It is expected they will then make recommendations to the full legislature in early 2014.

Although I'm disappointed that humane changes may not be passed until next year, GREY2K USA is completely focused on working with these committees and making sure the greyhounds have a voice. To succeed, we will need your support. In the coming months we will let you know how you can help, and will keep you updated as this process moves forward.

There is no doubt in my mind that we will, by working together, eventually ensure that Florida's greyhounds get the help they deserve. We will pass greyhound decoupling, we will pass an injury reporting law, and we will end the cruelty of dog racing completely. Throughout this effort, we must maintain a fierce sense of urgency while also recognizing that the changes we are fighting for depend in part on actions that are out of our control. We must never lose sight of our ultimate goal, or allow temporary delays to prevent us from continuing to work for the dogs. At GREY2K USA, we work hard every single day, and will not stop until all of Florida's greyhounds are helped.