The dog racing industry has been grossly negligent in the design of their racing facilities, and their negligence has caused the suffering and death of countless dogs.
This morning, I read some of the most insightful comments so far regarding the chronic problem of greyhound injuries in the racing industry, and how these injuries are related to racetrack designs. The statements were made by greyhound racing supporter and columnist Bruce Teague, and were published by the website Australian Greyhound Racing.
In his column, Teague begins by raising concerns about design plans for a proposed dog track in Deagon, Australia, and says that the location of the starting box makes "it likely that heavy interference will be the order of the day."
Teague then says that the current design plans remind him of problems that have occurred after the reconstruction of another dog track. During that reconstruction Teague claims that he suggested changes to the design, but his recommendations were ignored: "I saw these long before contracts were issued and wrote to the GBOTA pointing out the need to move the 400m boxes into a kinder position. They rejected that suggestion."
According to Teague, greyhounds have since paid the price for design flaws at that track:
In practice, dogs got smashed and six months after the opening the boxes were moved out a bit! Unfortunately, they had only 1m to work with on the concrete slab. It made barely any difference and dogs still get smashed today.
Most importantly, Teague then closes his column with a very apt summary of the lack of research that has been done on track design and the welfare of greyhounds.
I offer that story mainly because engineers or others will hear plenty of opinions on design features yet there is nowhere to turn to locate good, hard information about what dogs need to get around the track in one piece.
Finally, Teague makes it clear that this is not only a problem in Australia, but throughout the greyhound racing industry.
No broad-based track studies have ever been conducted, here or overseas, despite much urging to GALtd and state authorities. You will see a bit on turn-related injuries and a bit on surface materials, but that’s about it.
I suspect that Bruce Teague and I don't agree on many issues related to greyhound racing. I certainly agree with him on this point, however. The dog racing industry has been grossly negligent in the design of their racing facilities, and their negligence has caused the suffering and death of countless dogs.