Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Florida Greyhound Breeders Tell Lawmakers a Tall Tale

Seamus lives with a loving family in New York
In January, the Florida Greyhound Association distributed a press release which claimed that gambling on dog races is actually increasing. The missive was based on data from a single month, and titled:
"Florida's Greyhound Racing Venues See Revenue, Attendance Rise"
According to the release, dog tracks in Florida are "experiencing steady growth" and are "on an upward trend." There is only one problem with these statements: they are completely false.

According to data from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, betting at Florida dog tracks for the first eight months of the Fiscal Year is actually down by $670,731. Further, several tracks are experiencing declines that are nothing short of catastrophic. Pari-mutuel gambling at Pensacola Greyhound Track, for example, is down by 35%. Similarly, wagering at Ebro Greyhound Park is down by 11%.

In its press release, the Florida Greyhound Association also singled out tracks that it claimed are doing particularly well. The lobbying group claimed that betting is up at Derby Lane and Tampa, because "both tracks have full time racing advocates in marketing and public relations." Once again, this is proven wrong by the facts. According to state data, greyhound gambling at Derby Lane and Tampa is down by 8.9% and 7.6%, respectively. It's also important to note that there is no live racing at Tampa, which essentially operates as an off track betting parlor.

Were these simple mistakes by the Florida Greyhound Association, or an attempt to intentionally mislead lawmakers? Nearly a month before it went out, greyhound breeders were warned that the data they based their press release on was "inflated a bit." This apparently did not deter them from making these false statements, just weeks before the start of the legislative session.

Finally, the decline of dog racing is not limited to Florida. According to data that was released today by the Macau government, gambling at the Canidrome dog track is down by a staggering 23% for the first quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, new data from a racetrack regulator in Alabama indicates that betting on dog races at Birmingham Race Course fell by 8.7% in 2013.

All over the world, greyhound racing is dying. This is good news, and brings us closer to the day when greyhound racing will inevitably end.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Progress in Our Fight to End Dog Racing in Macau

Greyhounds at the Canidrome, 2011.
Last week, we learned that our campaign to end greyhound racing at the Macau Canidrome has taken a major step forward. In a filing with the New South Wales government, Australian dog racing officials indicated that greyhound passports to Macau are now banned.  According to Greyhound Racing New South Wales:

"GRNSW does not support the export of greyhounds to any country that do not meet contemporary animal welfare standards ... and supports the decision of Greyhounds Australasia to suspend the issuing of 'greyhound passports' to Macau in March 2013. That suspension still exists."
Since this ban has been in effect, the number of greyhounds exported to Macau has significantly dropped. More importantly, this development should send a powerful message to the Macau government that the track is not viable.

Unfortunately, greyhounds are still being shipped to Macau by individuals who are flouting the industry imposed ban on exports. This proves that the Australian dog racing industry is incapable of regulating itself, and further change is needed.

The Canidrome is now completely isolated. Animal protection groups from across the world have called on the government to close the track, because of  policies that are cruel and inhumane. Now the Canidrome has been rejected by the dog racing industry itself, a sure sign that the end is near for this death track.

The Canidrome sits on property that is owned by Macau, and its land lease expires at the end of 2015. The lease should be allowed to end, finally closing a sad chapter in Macau's history.