Monday, September 08, 2008

The Brutality of Greyhound Racing

I sent an email out to friends earlier today, expressing concern over Question Three, providing them with video evidence of just how horrible Greyhound Racing is for the dogs. I'm going to blockquote the email below, but first I'm going to post the video. People need to see this, because time is running out to save these dogs.

Here's my email:

I read a story today about Question Three, the question that could end greyhound dog racing, in which the Committee to Protect Dogs announced they've taped a year's worth of greyhound races in Massachusetts - and have subsequently taped hundreds of serious injuries. A video of some of them is here.

I have to admit, the video is not for the feint of heart. However, hopefully everyone will watch at least the first few minutes - where there's news about the actual findings. If anyone is considering voting no on question 3, I implore you to watch the whole thing. You should know what you'd be condemning these dogs to by voting no: picture NASCAR crashes without thousands of pounds of protection, airbags and seat belts. It's terrible - and that's not even counting the 20 hours a day Greyhounds are locked up in cages they can barely stand up and turn around in.

The tracks will say thousands of jobs are at stake, but as I've discussed on a blog earlier this summer, they make up their numbers as they go along. George Carney, the owner of the Raynham track, seems to make up a new number every time he talks to the papers - but, in that last link, I discussed the exact figures through Census and Massachusetts Dept. of Labor figures. It's not much and could easily be made up with by anything that would be built on the acres and acres of property filling these tracks.

But it shouldn't even be about that: what these dogs have to endure is horrifying and something we should strive to be better than in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It's nothing less than animal cruelty to the extreme.

Send your emails out, too. Everyone who votes in Massachusetts needs to see this video, because it's so important that we cease this barbaric practice once and for all.

Since tracks have been forced to report injuries, over 800 dogs have been injured. A year's worth of them were recorded by The Committee to Protect Dogs. Hundreds of dogs were seriously injured. Many of them died. It's brutal and we, as a society, can do better. I hope everyone will vote Yes on Question 3, so we can finally bring justice for these dogs.


Brian J Turgeon said...

Dear Ryan-
Thank you for your very inspiring piece of the brutality f dogracing. Its absolutly wrong to have these dogs endure the kind of treatment or lack of treatment they get from these owners. These dogs should be on couches not cages. These are pets not money-making objects for mindless peoples greediness. Vote Yes on 3!!
Brian J Turgeon
Chicopee, MA

Anonymous said...

I have never been to a dog race, so I was shocked that people allow such abuse of these gentle animals for their own amusement. How can people so easily disassociate themselves from the pain, suffering, and needless death of dogs that deserve to be loved and cared for? Thank you for educating me to the horrors of greyhound racing. I will now be advocating that voters vote YES on 3.

Anonymous said...

Ryan, A friend called to tell me she read your blog and was voting yes on 3. Great blog! We're with you.

Ryan Adams said...

Thanks all. It's going to take a massive grassroots movement to get this thing passed, but we can do it - so keep it up!

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine dogs who are locked up 20 hours a day and can't turn aroung in their cages can then go out and run half a mile with such speed. No muscle atrophy? Then what's next ban fishing, horse racing, why not go right to the source and legislate that we must all be vegans.

Ryan Adams said...


You don't have to imagine it. It's true. Just go to the committee to protect dog's website - they back up their numbers with cold, hard facts. 20 hours a day is the average those dogs are kept locked up. Period.

Furthermore, I'm not talking about anything but dog racing. It's cruel. Did you watch the full video? I hope that you will and, until you do, I'm not going to take your criticisms very seriously.

There's big differences between animals for food and animals for sports. We have rules to make sure the animals we eat don't suffer - you can't string them up on a rope and watch them suffocate for fun before you eat them, for example. These dogs are not food, though, and serve no other purpose than for sport. The risks to them are huge - and brutal. We just don't need to do dog racing and its a dying industry anyway; we could end their suffering now, or likely prolong it for another decade or so before the industry dies on its own. I'm not willing to let a dying industry take hundreds of dogs with them.

Anonymous said...

Horse racing - sport. Fishing - sport (if catch and release). Hunting - sport (if for trophy not food). Camel racing, rodeo where would you stop.

Ryan Adams said...

None of those questions are on the ballot. It's not my perogative to decide "where to stop," it's the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I deal with the here and now, not the decades from now. All I know and can say is that dog racing is cruel and unusual and leaves thousands of dogs dead across the country every year, in brutal, violent accidents that often end up in euthanization. That need not happen.

If there were a humane way to do dog racing, maybe I'd favor it, but that's just not possible, at least with today's technology and industry.

Anonymous said...

That's part of our problem, we only think of the here and now. If we had less knee jerk reaction to problems and the desire to legislate behaviour maybe we'd find long term solutions. Ban it tomorrow and then they'll euthanize a bunch of suddenly unproductive dogs. Why don't you begin an educational campaign about the perceived evils of racing and try to change social mores, a la the fur industry. Why do we feel the need to legislate every little thing.

Carey Theil said...

There's another side of that coin, Anon.

Under your analysis, we shouldn't stop any cruelty because perceived cruelty may exist elsewhere.

And Question 3 does not "ban" greyhound racing "tomorrow." It phases it out over 14 months.

Anonymous said...

Well Carey then where do you stop?
Circus training of animals? Could be regarded as cruel. Zoos in general. Are we going to vote on all these instances.

Carey Theil said...

Anon if you think that circuses are cruel, then go out and collect the signatures and bring a ballot question to voters.

That's how our democracy works. When voters believe there is a problem that needs to be solved, they have the constitutional right to collect thousands of signatures (it's a very difficult process) and bring a ballot question before their fellow citizens.

Then, those same petitioners have an obligation to make a case in favor of the change they are advocating for.

That is what we are doing here. We believe greyhound racing is cruel and inhumane, and have worked our way through this difficult process to put Question 3 on the ballot. Now we are making a case - based on local dog tracks' own data - that dog racing should end.

Now rather than have that important discussion, you seem to think we should debate camel racing, circuses, zoos, horse racing, fishing, trophy hunting, rodeos, and the fur industry.

In other words, anything and everything except greyhound racing.

Don't you think voters deserve a debate on the merits of this issue?

Anonymous said...

It already was voted on a couple of years ago.

suzybuzz said...

The fact that it was voted on a few years ago is irrelevant.

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