At first sight it seemed incredible to me to have to explain why we are opposed to Greyhound racing. The wealth of information on this site alone should be enough, I thought, to demonstrate to anyone, that it is the cause of a lot of suffering of gentle, loving Greyhounds. The trouble is, however, one always seems to take for granted that the other person knows and has experienced what the writer or speaker has experienced. Unfortunately, or perhaps in this case thankfully, this is not the case. If everyone had seen what I have seen in the Greyhound racing environment, then Greyhound racing could not survive. The weight of opposition would destroy it. What I want to do in this essay is try to show why we are so opposed to Greyhound racing.
As you browse this site you will find poems and stories that are written by people who have had direct experience of the horrors caused by the racing industry. Poems like Eternal sleep. This is a graphic account of what happens to healthy, loving Greyhounds every day. Mel, the needle man is what happens at a racing track near where I live, no doubt it is the same at all tracks. Then there is the quintet of stories on the "Thoughts" page. Bridges Hitched Thirsty Bonfire Genocide These five muses were written by a man who used to be a racing enthusiast. He visited our home and spoke to my wife and I about the atrocities he had seen on the tracks. He swore never to take part in anything like it ever again and as far as I am aware he never has. There are many poems on this site which are, quite frankly, downright depressing. That is not the reason they are there, to make you depressed, they are there to try to make you understand that if you place a bet on a Greyhound race you are condoning and even supporting by your financial involvement, what you read about on the website.
Sometimes people say, "but don't the dogs love to run?" Well maybe they do love to run but they don't know what they are a part of do they? It's like a baby or small child who loves to do something that you as an adult can see is clearly dangerous for the child. The race tracks in the UK, and as far as I am aware in the USA also, are oval in shape. There is no beginning and no end, the dogs go round and end up back where they started. A Greyhound can achieve a speed of up to 45 mph and they have to turn with the contour of the track at this speed. This is where a lot of the injuries occur. They range from a broken toe to a broken leg. Once the injury has occurred it depends upon the owner what treatment, if any, the dogs receive. If the dog is not winning races and making money for the owner he may not get any kind of treatment and just be left in pain.
A "good" racer may continue for four or even five years, then what? A Greyhound tends to live longer than most other breeds of similar size and it's not uncommon to expect them to live to 15 or 16 years. I personally have had several Greys who lived to this age, so when they "retire" from the track at 4 or 5 years old they have at least another 10 years of life, if they are allowed to live. Unfortunately, most are not allowed to live. At this point I could give you a host of details about what happens to these loving trusting dogs but that is not within the scope of this essay. There are poems and stories on this website that will provide this kind of information so there is no need to repeat it here. Instead, I will refer you to poems like, The sport of death. A Greyhound's last words. Born a Greyhound.
Ok, what is the scale of the problem? About 30,000 Greyhound puppies are born every year to replace the racing stock in the UK. I'm not sure what the numbers are in the USA but they must be relatively comparable. Of those 30,000 probably 10,000 make it to the racetracks in England and Ireland. What happens to the rest? Many are "put down" as puppies because it soon becomes clear that they will never achieve the standards required. Others who are perhaps considered not good enough to race in the UK but who are not too bad may end up going to Spain. These are perhaps the unluckiest of all. To learn what happens in Spain visit www.greyhoundsinneed.co.uk Now, if 10,000 enter the racing circuit each year, 10,000 must leave it. What happens to them? I think we have arrived back at the end of the last paragraph.
In a vain attempt to defend Greyhound racing, I have heard people say, "well, if there was no racing those dogs would never be born." You bet they wouldn't. It's better not to be born at all than to be born into a life of suffering isn't it? It's like saying if everyone was vegetarian the cows and pigs and sheep would not be born. If you were an animal waiting to be born into the food chain and you were given the choice of whether to be born or not, what would you choose? I used to work at the UK Vegetarian Society and I have seen video footage of intensive farming methods and what happens in slaughterhouses, believe me, it's better not to be born. Greyhounds are becoming very popular as pets so very many would still be born, but they would be loved and cared for, as is their right.
With further evolution of the race of man, Greyhound racing in its present form will cease to exist. There may still be those who allow their dogs to enjoy a run with others in a spirit of friendly rivalry, on safe straight-line tracks with good ground surfaces, but the root of the problem, money, will have no part in the new enlightened way. Any injuries will be rare and obtain immediate veterinary treatment, and the Greyhounds will be adored pets who live with their human companions in their house. The present barbaric practices within this industry will be looked upon as dog fighting and other cruel sports are viewed today. Unfortunately, this ideal is a long way off. Before it comes about many more thousands, even millions of beautiful Greyhounds will suffer and die before their life should have been over. So what can you do to help these beautiful dogs and bring about the change that is inevitable though slow to come about.
The first and most obvious thing is never to support the racing industry by going to a race or betting money on a Greyhound race at a bookmakers. If no one placed bets with bookmakers this cruel practice would soon fade out. Secondly, tell everyone you know what you have found out through this website and others, about the suffering and death caused by Greyhound racing. Tell them to visit this website and read the stories and poems but please make sure that they understand that they are not "stories" in the sense that they are fiction. I wish they were but they are written accounts of the attrocities that are happening every day to beautiful living beings. The third thing that you can do is to adopt a Greyhound yourself. Until our ideal comes about there will always be thousands of Greyhounds needing homes. Please make your next pet a Greyhound and I promise you that you will never regret it. In fact within a very short time you will be going back to where you got your dog from to adopt another one.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this essay and that you will continue to visit Night At The Dogs and help us achieve our aims.
Here is a short message from Tony Peters of Greyhound Action.
The present government is far more concerned about persecuting the protectors of animals than in protecting animals from persecution, so we don't hold out much hope of legislation being brought in to abolish commercial Greyhound racing in the near future. This, however, is not the point.
The best hope for the protection of Greyhounds lies in the hands of the general public. The Greyhound racing industry has been in decline for decades, with the closure of dozens of tracks, because of falling attendances.
Fewer tracks = fewer races = less demand for Greyhounds to be produced = fewer Greyhounds bred = fewer put to death.
The key to ending the dog racing industry and putting a stop to the mass-slaughter of Greyhounds is to do our utmost to encourage even more of the public not to attend, or bet on, dog racing.
In order to best achieve this, a clear message needs to be conveyed to the public that commercial Greyhound racing is entirely unacceptable and needs to be totally done away with.
Those who limit their call to "better welfare measures" or "independent regulation" may well have the best interests of the dogs at heart, but they are actually harming our campaign to bring commercial Greyhound racing to an end. This is because many members of the public will interpret what they are saying as meaning that the dog racing industry is basically OK and just needs a few reforms, so making it harder for us to persuade people to boycott the industry.
We have little faith that independent regulation will do very much to improve the fate of the dogs, if this government has anything to do with it. The Blair regime has consistently supported the persecutors of animals to the extent that vivisection has increased, live-exports have been resumed, anti-hunting legislation is weak and ill-enforced and draconian laws have been brought in to attempt to control the activities of animal protection campaigners. Not that we believe any of the major political parties would behave any differently.