Greyhound Racing: Sport or Cruelty?Published October 20, 2008
Greyhound racing in Massachusetts thankfully may be phased out by 2010, if laws are passed which will end this cruel practice. This is great news for dog lovers, especially those folks involved in Greyhound rescue and adoption. Thousands of these remarkable dogs suffer needless injury and even death, in a "sport" designed simply for entertainment and wagering. Prior to 2001,when the Legislature passed a sunshine law requiring Greyhound Racing tracks to publicly reveal the numbers and type of injuries these dogs suffered, the state's two Greyhound racing tracks were able to hide the truth from the public. However, under penalty of perjury, they are no longer able to sweep this information under the rug, completely. Under penalty of perjury, these tracks reported that more than 800 racing Greyhounds were injured since 2002. Approximately 80 percent of these reported injuries are broken legs, which prevent the dogs from racing for extended periods, or completely end their career on the track. Other injuries include seizures, paralysis, head trauma and cardiac arrest, the latter two frequently resulting in the dog's death. A shocking statistic for these racing dogs is that one dog is injured every three to four days in the state. Track reporting continues to water down the actual numbers of injuries by emphasizing "starts" only. The dogs are considered racing "units", completely dismissing them for what they really are; individual dogs with emotions, physical needs and who long for companionship. The tracks continue buttering up their reports by stating that the dogs are well cared for, but in reality, according to photographs taken at the Wonderland Kennel Compound, the dogs are kept in small, stacked cages, which gives them no room in which to turn around or stand. The Massachusetts State Racing Commission sets standards for the cages to be 34 inches high by 32 inches wide. Since a large greyhound can stand 30 inches at the shoulder, they are unable to raise its head while standing in their cage. Not approved by the Massachusetts’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (MSPCA) the tracks continue to claim they are using approved cages. Dogs are kept in tiny cages up to 20 hours a day, with little social interaction with humans. They endure a miserable existence. Dogs are highly social animals, who require contact with humans and other dogs with whom to play. Racing greyhounds are denied even these basic needs, which include interacting with other dogs, running free and allowed to be "just a dog." Therefore, anyone who loves animals has to wonder why the industry is permitted to continue ignoring the rules, with little or no penalties levied at these tracks. According to the "Boston Herald, "Gambling declined by 65 percent at Wonderland and 37 percent at Raynham from 2002-2007. The tracks’ claims that they pay hefty tax dollars to the state are overshadowed by the foreclosure proceedings that were begun against Wonderland for failure to pay over $800,000 in taxes. Even track owners admit that dog racing cannot continue without further handouts. However while they linger, thousands of dogs will continue to lead miserable existences, caged and put at risk of serious injury" The MSPCA, The Humane Society of the United States, statewide animal shelters, more than 60 local veterinarians and dozens of lawmakers urge Massachusetts Voters to vote "Yes on Question 3"on November 4, "The Greyhound Protection Act." How do you feel about dog racing? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
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