Thursday, April 14, 2016

Simulcast Gambling on Dog Races is Dying

Gina is Happy That Greyhound Simulcasting is Dying
As the greyhound industry slowly dies, nineteen remaining tracks are being partially propped up by states that don't host races but allow gamblers to bet remotely on dog racing. As a result of this simulcast betting, states that have already outlawed greyhound racing, like Massachusetts, are unfortunately supporting animal cruelty.

Thankfully, greyhound simulcasting is withering. It is falling in virtually every state, with several experiencing catastrophic declines in just the past five years:
This is good news for greyhounds. It also refutes false claims that have been made recently by the industry. Just last month, National Greyhound Association Executive Secretary Gary Guccione told Kansas lawmakers that greyhound racing isn't dying at all because simulcasting is so successful. Obviously his claim is pure fantasy.

Even though greyhound simulcasting is dying, along with the rest of the dog race industry, it is still a problem that needs attention. These states shouldn't support greyhound cruelty, and it's time for them to get out of the dog racing business altogether.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Greyhound Racing Has a Drug Problem

Kiowa Try Thelma tested positive for cocaine in February 2015.
Photo by the Greyhound Breeding and Racing Database.
Over the past two years there have been 75 documented drug violations in the American greyhound racing industry, including violations in every racing state. The vast majority of these drug cases resulted in fines or suspensions.
These are powerful drugs that can harm greyhounds, and we should all be concerned about this constant drum beat of drug positives. These drug violations also call into question the integrity of dog race bets being made across the country.

Greyhound racing in the United States has a drug problem that just won't go away.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Irish Board Encourages Breeding as Greyhounds Die

Emily the abandoned greyhound. Photo by the Irish Sun.
For years Ireland has been at the epicenter of a massive greyhound welfare problem. Thousands of greyhound are bred each year in the Republic, and many are sent to compete at British racetracks. Nearly 54,000 Irish bred greyhounds were shipped to British racetracks between 2006 and 2013, and the ultimate fate for many of these dogs is unknown.

In Ireland itself, a large number of dogs are discarded by the racing industry each year. The issue was summarized in 2010 by Michael Watts of Society of Greyhound Vets and Countryside Alliance Ireland:
"We have a large number of young greyhounds that, in the nature of things, are perhaps not handled much, not very socialised and not house trained. In many cases, they do not make good pets. There are a large number of them, and what are we to do with them?"
Similar concerns were raised only months ago by Irish Times Racing Correspondent Brian O'Connor. In a well-reasoned column, O'Connor called for a culture change within the racing industry and specifically highlighted the challenge of greyhound overbreeding:
"The question of overproduction is a particular issue for greyhound racing. A horse produces a single foal every year; a dog can produce a litter of pups every two months. It is much cheaper to maintain a dog until establishing if it can run fast, so the more produced, the more chance of a good runner ...  They can’t all run fast, and the slow ones, and old ones, aren’t all rehomed. So where do they end up? Some will tell you plenty of animals don’t make it to registration in the first place. Of those that do, some are sold and exported, and some unwanted animals get rehomed. Others are, to use the anodyne phrase, 'euthanised' in a proper and professional manner. But those involved in welfare still talk of thousands 'disappearing' each year, with all the sinister connotations implicit in that word."
There certainly are greyhounds that suffer greatly in Ireland after being discarded by the racing industry. In January, an emaciated dog named Emily was dumped in a ditch in County Tipperary after having her racing tattoos burned out with acid and her tailed hacked off. Incredibly, she survived her ordeal.

Enter the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB). Rather than address this serious problem, the industry promoter has released a plan that will make things worse. It has earmarked 250,000 Euros in new funding for a "breeders incentive scheme" as part of a a total industry support plan worth 700,000 Euros. Meanwhile, no new funding whatsoever has been allocated for greyhound welfare. Ironically, this new breeders incentive scheme was announced shortly after a legislative report identified problems with the current Irish stud book, including "ongoing issues concerning the breeding of greyhounds with dogs which were dead for two years or more."

This is a serious miscalculation by the Board. It will not only cause the death of dogs, it will harm the industry in the long run. Rather than ramp up breeding, industry promoters in Ireland should follow their colleagues in Australia, who are decreasing breeding as part of an overall animal welfare plan.