|4-D Meat at a Commercial Dog Track|
At dog tracks across the country, greyhounds are fed 4-D meat. In light of the Daytona incident, here are seven things you might not know about this standard practice.
- 4-D stands for dying, diseased, disabled and dead livestock. This meat is deemed unfit for human consumption, and includes denatured charcoal to prevent human use.
- According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the use of 4-D meat in the racing industry is a potential health hazard. According to an FDA Compliance Policy Guide, the use of 4-D meat at dog tracks "may present a potential health hazard to the animals that consume it and to the people who handle it." The FDA also considers 4-D meat an "adulterated" product, and its shipment across state lines "is subject to appropriate regulatory action."
- Multiple studies have proven a direct link between 4-D meat and dangerous pathogens, including Salmonella. Also, according to an industry expert, racing greyhounds suffer from foodborne illnesses that other dogs do not. In a 1996 article, Dr. Brad Fenwick claimed that "foodborne diseases in dogs appear to be rare with the exception of greyhounds in the United States."
- Greyhound trainers use 4-D meat as a way to cut costs. According to industry handbook Care of the Racing and Retired Greyhound, 4-D meat is used because "it is the most economically feasible for the Greyhound industry at this time." This same handbook also reports problems associated with the use of this meat, including exposure to pathogenic bacteria and false drug positives.
- Greyhounds are fed 4-D meat raw. Cooking the meat would remove dangerous pathogens, but greyhound trainers refuse to do so because they are afraid of negatively affecting race performance.
- The use of raw 4-D meat at dog tracks is banned in South Tucson, Arizona. This prohibition was approved by local voters in 2008. Unfortunately, it's not clear whether this law has ever been enforced.
- This cheap meat is used at every dog track in the country. According to a 2003 letter from the National Greyhound Association, the NGA is "unaware of any professional Greyhound kennels or farms that use any other classification of meat as a major part of their Greyhound feeding programs."
|4-D meat is mixed in large bathtubs at the track|
The use of cheap 4-D meat is another example of how the dog racing industry cuts corners. The industry seeks to maximize the profit margin for every dog, at the expense of animal welfare. Unfortunately, greyhounds are continuing to suffer as a result of this recklessness.