We are against dog racing.
At commercial racetracks, thousands of greyhounds live confined in small cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around for long hours each day. Many are seriously injured while racing, and thousands are killed each year when they can no longer compete. Dog racing is cruel and inhumane, and should be outlawed.
Dogs play an important role in our lives and deserve to be protected from individuals and industries that would do them harm. Racing greyhounds are treated in a way that we would not treat our own dog.
At commercial racetracks across the country, tens of thousands of greyhounds endure lives of terrible confinement, inside stacked cages in warehouse-style kennels.i In these kennels, dogs are confined in small cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around for twenty or more hours per day.
Because several states do not keep adequate records, there are no official national statistics on the number of dogs injured each year while racing. However, based on the records that are available we can safely estimate that thousands of dogs are seriously injured each year nationwide. For example, between 2002 and 2008, more than eight hundred dogs were injured while racing in Massachusetts.ii In New Hampshire, nearly 1,200 greyhound injuries were reported between 2005 and 2008.iii In Arizona, the Department of Racing reports nearly 600 greyhounds injured in 2008.iv
The most common greyhound injuries are broken legs. Other reported injuries include cardiac arrest, spontaneous seizures, sudden collapse before or after racing, spinal cord paralysis, severed tails, lacerated eyes, and puncture wounds.v
To reduce costs, dogs at commercial racetracks are fed meat from downed and diseased animals that has been deemed unfit for human consumption (4D).vi Because this meat is fed to greyhounds raw, it can cause dogs to be exposed to deadly pathogens such as E. coli. This meat contains denatured charcoal to discourage human use.
Thousands of greyhounds are still killed every year. Because several states do not keep adequate public records, there are no verifiable statistics on the number of dogs killed nationally. Estimates range from 3,000 vii to 8,567.viii
Across the country, dogs race on the hottest days of summer and the coldest days of winter.
In one month in 2005, 19 dogs at Wonderland Greyhound Park died from a mysterious illness that was later proven to be a form of horse flu that had never before jumped species.ix The confinement of many dogs into small spaces encourages the spread of illness.
Because dogs typically race at several racetracks during their racing career, professional haulers transport large numbers of dogs from one racetrack to another. During this process, dogs are usually transported in cramped conditions, and in some cases undergo cross-country trips in unventilated, aluminum trailers or rental vans. In recent years, there have been many media-documented cases of racing dogs dying while being transported.
In 2002, authorities from the Wisconsin Department of Justice investigated allegations that a greyhound trainer was receiving anabolic steroids by mail. After placing an undercover surveillance camera in the kennel where the trainer worked, authorities caught him injecting at least 11 dogs with a foreign substance over a two-day period.xi In a separate case, 119 dogs tested positive for cocaine at Florida racetracks between 2001 and 2003.xii
In April 2000, a Wisconsin man was caught selling more than 1,000 former racing dogs to Guidant Corporation research laboratories, where they were used to test pacemakers before being killed.xiii
In 2002 a greyhound breeder and owner had his state racing license temporarily suspended after he was caught using domestic rabbits to train his dogs. At least 180 rabbits were found at his kennel in rural Arizona.xiv
How many dogs are required to operate a commercial racetrack?
On average, a population of 1,000 dogs is required to operate a commercial racetrack.
How many dogs are bred for racing each year?
Thankfully, as dog tracks close, the number of dogs bred for racing continues to shrink. 15,584 individual dogs were bred for racing in 2009 as compared to 26,797 in 2001.xv
Do dogs typically spend their entire racing careers at the same track?
Generally, dogs compete at several tracks, in multiple states, during their careers.
How many greyhounds are adopted into loving homes each year?
The exact number of greyhounds adopted into loving homes each year is not known, and estimates vary from 14,800xvi to 18,000.xvii What is certain is that not all dogs are adopted, and thousands are killed each year when they are no longer profitable as racers.
i Photographic evidence and correspondence from Wonderland Greyhound Park, the Massachusetts State Racing Commission, and the New Hampshire Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission, 2006-2008
ii Massachusetts State Racing Commission, Greyhound Injury Records, 2002-2008
iii New Hampshire Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission, Greyhound Injury Reports, 2005-2008
iv Arizona Department of Racing, Greyhound Injury Reports and Suspension Lists , 2008
v Massachusetts State Racing Commission, Greyhound Injury Records, 2002-2008
vi Linda L. Blythe, DVM, PhD, James R. Gannon, BVSc, FACVSc, A. Morrie Craig, PhD, Care of the Racing Greyhound, 119
vii National Greyhound Association, KABC Channel 7 ABC TV, February 20, 2009
viii Greyhound Network News and the Greyhound Protection League, U.S. Greyhound Racing Fact Sheet, April 2007
ix Massachusetts State Racing Commission
x Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering Investigative Report, January 8, 2009