The interaction between greyhound adoption and ending the cruelty of dog racing

Regarding concerns about what will happen to all of the greyhounds when the greyhound racing industry shuts down in Australia, just today there was the great news on ABC radio that greyhound adoptions have doubled since February’s Four Corners program that exposed the cruelty of the industry –

This article has been contributed by Christine A. Dorchak, Esq., President and General Counsel, GREY2K USA Worldwide & GREY2K USA Education Fund

Given that greyhound racing has shut down in the US in 40 states now, Grey2K USA have seen first hand what happens to the dogs. This is what Christine can tell us:

First of all, greyhound advocates in the US have always been committed to phasing out greyhound racing in a responsible way. The protection of greyhounds is our number one mission.  We must all do everything we can to encourage the owners of greyhound dogs to release them into adoption both while racing is ongoing, and after it ends.  By contrast, if we do nothing and allow dog racing to continue, thousands of dogs will be bred this year and next year and the year after that, to be replaced by thousands more, some of whom will die will racing or be killed when no longer profitable.  Year after year after year ….  Some will be adopted but many will be destroyed.  This is the nature of this cruel industry.

Historically speaking, when a dog track closes, countless volunteers are mobilized to find homes for any and all displaced dogs.  Multiple groups organize and work together.  Drivers from hundreds of miles away converge on the track and pick up dogs to be taken to adoption groups and foster homes.  For example, when Plainfield Greyhound Park in Connecticut closed in 2005 volunteers from as far away as the Midwest and Canada sent rescuers.   The closure of Multnomah Greyhound Park in Oregon in 2004 and Geneva Lakes Greyhound Park in Wisconsin in 2006 sparked a similar response.  While some dogs were sent on to race elsewhere, many others were made available for adoption.

With the closure of Mile High Park in Colorado (Winter 2008) and The Woodlands in Kansas (Fall 2008), all the dogs were safely moved out, when greyhound advocates, including board members of GREY2K USA, joined hands with track adoption groups to help the dogs.  In December 2009, the 200 remaining dogs at Raynham Park were re-homed, and a similar number had been transferred out of Wonderland, also of Massachusetts, when that track held its last season in September of that year, bringing the total to nearly 1,000 going into homes.  At this time, dogs are transitioning out of two more tracks, one in Iowa and one in Texas!

We believe that allowing the cruelty of greyhound racing to continue is not an option, and we can all work together to ensure a safe landing for the dogs as tracks continue to close worldwide.  We must give greyhounds the second chance they deserve and close all the tracks as quickly as possible! Otherwise, the cycle of breeding and killing will go on and on without abate.  This is particularly true in Australia where breeding is much more intense, and far less controlled, than here.  As long as Australian tracks continue to operate, the death pile will keep growing.  By closing tracks, the motivation for breeding is reduced and the suffering diminished.  Without change, almost all racing dogs will continue to die in your country.


Author: eleonoragullone

I am an author, adjunct associate professor in psychology and have advocated for animal welfare for more than 15 years. On the basis of my extensive research, I can confidently argue that if we cultivate a culture of compassion toward all of our non-human citizens, including those currently exploited for human use (such as food, sport and experimentation), current and future generations will benefit through reduced antisocial and violent behaviour toward all sentient beings including humans. Over my 25-year career as an academic, I have published over 100 scholarly articles in refereed academic journals and have also conducted a number of projects examining the link between aggression toward humans and cruelty toward animals. In 2000, I founded a group within the Australian Psychological Society focused on promoting positive interactions between humans and animals. This work has resulted in several scholarly publications including a book published in 2012, titled Animal cruelty, Antisocial Behaviour and Aggression: More than a link.

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