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|President Speaks: Spring 2012
(Opinions & Things as I See Them ...)
Thus far, 2012 has been a year that nearly requires a minute-by-minute update of things involving greyhound racing. In the US, the battle to decouple in Florida was short lived; politics again.
Florida is in a major tug-of-war about gambling and gaming. Unfortunately, we cannot take the gambling out of dog racing or the dog racing from the gambling. Investors are looking at resort casinos to attract more international tourists, but then there is the massive presence of the Disney Industries. So as they say, it’s complicated and the greyhounds get shuffled back another year.
The struggle continues in Arizona. All fingers are crossed that decoupling passes in AZ and the “PIT” known as Tucson Greyhound Park, will let its hounds go….release them to adoption organizations, even the anti-racing ones like USA DOG, Inc., that will find them good homes and the treatment they deserve.
Decoupling is a simple concept endorsed by most dog track owners and those of us who hate seeing dogs run for their lives in front of empty seats.
Years ago, to save their business from extinction, the tracks made a deal with the various States relative to the newly flourishing casinos and poker rooms that in order for those games to take place at a dog track, the dogs would have to be raced X number of times per year. Many of those X’s are hundreds of races.
So for the past 20 years, thousands of greyhounds have been running, getting hurt, even dying in front of empty grandstands. It sucks for the dogs and is extremely expensive for the track owners…and frankly, not very lucrative for the greyhound kennels especially at the smaller tracks with fewer and fewer people attending. So decoupling would allow the various tracks to decide if they want to continue greyhound racing or if they want a limited number of weeks or whatever they believe is best for their business.
This has the greyhound folks pissed and terrified. They see this as the final nail in their industry’s coffin. It seems to be all or nothing with this business. That line of thought and type of behavior hasn’t worked well in the past for many others. All or nothing isn’t typically a winning plan considering our history as an abolitionary Nation.
Maybe they just don’t think it can be done; but more likely, they think they’re already doing it! How do you work with that mentality other than to end it? If they won’t seize the moment and improve themselves…..no one else will and the public and its lawmakers will end the entire business of betting on dogs.
Only time will tell if decoupling is needed for greyhound racing’s mouthpieces to abandon ship. Those at the top of the food chain are already moving about to save themselves….but there hasn’t been much trickle down to save the little guys or their smaller kennels or farms. The big guys, they’re still cranking out hundreds of hounds a year and receiving good stud fees for their super dogs. But they aren’t doing much, if anything, to bring about change or try to save the business.
Then there are the foreign markets; Korea, Mexico & Viet Nam. For example, some 360 greyhounds are shipped from Australia to Macau, China every year for the one dog track; none ever return. (Google Macau Greyhound Racing) or (See News)
Down from 52 to 13 tracks in the US is a pretty good indication of where things are headed for them. One would think that their “survival mode” would kick in. Yet they continue to pretend that bad things don’t happen and everything is peachy and in so doing, they’re supporting their own demise. This is a business that truly does not see or accept the big picture.
Technology will be the real reason legalized greyhound racing ended in the US. The micro chips in the slots and other faster forms of electronic gaming; the cameras in cell phones, and the ever invading Internet are all things that have been used to expose the darker side of dog racing. (Of pretty much everything!)
A punked out Vodka commercial and a French Bulldog in red shoes are not enough to overcome the horrifically graphic photos we’ve all seen of piles of dead dogs. And while it’s true that there are bad apples in every business, those of us who have worked to find these guys homes and have enjoyed sharing our homes and lives with them, aren’t concerned about those other businesses at the moment; right now we’re concerned about the fate of the hounds currently running and those to run in the future…also the old studs and broods…no longer productive and no longer needed.
The mantra of “Animal Rights Whackos” is old and inaccurate. Many animal rights advocates don’t believe in having pets…so it wasn’t them who began adoption or did the adopting or told the world what great dogs these hounds are! It was regular people; dog lovers.
So if you have never been to a greyhound race and have any desire to see one before they are just available from third world countries, you’d better go now. A race is 30 seconds of incredible power and grace; four or five of them is an hour and the feeling of days gone by.
- Sally Allen, President
USA Defenders of Greyhounds
Be sure to read previous President Speaks letters from USA Defenders of Greyhounds, Greyhound rescue organization
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Carmel, IN 46082
|USA D.O.G. is a non-profit, all volunteer organization with no ties to the dog racing industry.|
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