(Global) – Dogs kept in small, inadequate kennels for years, suffer many injuries when racing; when no longer fast they are disposed of.
Who’s fighting it: HSUS, Protectdogs.org, All-creatures.org, Grey2K USA, PETA, IDA, DownBound, Animal Law Coalition, Noah’s Arc (Spain)
MORE INFO: Every year, the industry breeds tens of thousands of greyhounds, more than it can place at racetracks. This overbreeding is motivated by the desire to produce “winning” dogs. Thousands of greyhounds at each track are disposed of yearly to bring in a “fresh” group of dogs. A dog’s racing career is usually over at 3½ to 4 years of age.
If able to live out his or her full life as a companion animal, a greyhound may live 13 or more years. Unfortunately, the industry kills greyhounds at various stages in the dogs’ lives because they appear to lack racing potential or are injured. Many dogs, when they are no longer profitable, are adopted into good homes through rescue groups, but thousands are not. As with any business, profit is the bottom line; as a result, greyhounds are often destroyed using the least expensive methods, including gunshot. Budgeoning, abandonment, and starvation also occurs.
Racing greyhounds spend the majority of their adult lives in crates or pens or in fenced enclosures. Human companionship is limited. Many enclosures are not climate-controlled, causing the dogs distress during inclement weather.
Greyhound training activities have been known to maim and kill thousands of domestic rabbits and wild jackrabbits every year. (This estimate is based on HSUS investigations into the illegal importation of rabbits as well as the use of animals in training events.) One particular event known as “coursing” involves greyhounds chasing, terrorizing and eventually killing rabbits within fenced enclosures.
Also relating to greyhounds, in Spain even more brutal practices exist. There the dogs are used for hunting, so the lazy hunters don’t have to chase their quarry. These normally gentle dogs are brutally trained and kept in appalling conditions there. Worse, if they don’t hunt well, they are — believe it or not– hanged. They are either strung up from a tree, or even worse, cruelly left with their back legs on the ground so their death is slower and much more agonizing. There is a large population of British expatriates in Spain, some of whom, appalled at seeing such cruelty, have started up welfare organizations to rescue these dogs. I had the good fortune to be hosted by Gail and Andrew of Noah’s Arc, who work tirelessly to find homes for abandoned and injured greyhounds in southern Spain. Their website is http://www.noahsarcmurcia.com/links.htm, and Andrew has many wonderful videos of “los galgos” (the greyhounds) on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/andrewhurrell
Recent progress: passage of ban on dog racetracks in Massachusetts (11/08)
Go to Part 12, Culling Dogs
Go to Introduction