Greyhound ExploitationThe average kennel maintains around 50 dogs but often as many as 80.

Small tracks have 10-15 kennels; larger tracks may have 20+ kennels.
Thus, an average track kennel facility (known as a “compound”)
with 15 kennels may easily house upwards of 1,000 dogs — plus an equal
amount of new dogs and unsuccessful dogs filtering in and out throughout
the year.
Seasonal tracks are often low revenue facilities with low-grade dogs
who might not race successfully elsewhere. To euthanize such a large number
of animals can be very expensive for kennel owners. This dilemma often leaves
the animals vulnerable to be sold to research labs or sent to race in third
world countries.
Shelter/Food/Exercise
Greyhounds are kept at track kennels in stacked cages for a total of
18-22 hours a day.
The dogs are let out four times a day in small turn-out pens (divided
by male/female).
Greyhound are muzzled in the pens because the large number of dogs often
leads to fighting.
Some trainers elect to keep the dogs muzzled in their crates for the
majority of each day.
Bedding is shredded newspaper or thin carpet remnants.
Many tracks continue to use wooden crates — perilous for fire and difficult
to clean. The wood gets soaked with urine, making sanitary conditions difficult.
In most kennels, greyhounds (often muzzled) are heavily infested with
fleas and ticks.
Racing greyhounds are routinely fed raw “4-D Meat” p the meat
of diseased, dying, downed (unable to walk), or dead animals deemed “unfit
for human consumption” by the USDA. This meat often causes dogs to
be ill and sometimes die in a reaction called “blow-out.” It is
used to save costs.
The Perils of Racing
Greyhound injuries are common on tracks with a poorly constructed first
turn or poor racing surface.
For many greyhounds, the only real exercise they receive is during races.
Their lack of muscle tone can lead to injuries and death.
Often, dogs who break a leg (particularly male dogs not as useful for
breeding) are immediately euthanized.
Some greyhounds have been electrocuted by rail that powers the track
lure; others have died when they became confused and ran back into the pack.
Industry standards dictate that a dog shouldn’t race more than once
every four days to allow for recuperation, but some trainers have been found
to run them every other day.
The State Government’s Role – A Conspiracy of
Silence
State governments reap tax revenue from greyhound racing (although severely
declining), but none donate funds to help euthanize the dogs humanely or
to aid adoption groups.
The rules and regulations of almost all racing states fail to stipulate
humane conditions for the animals.
Most inspections and almost all regulations apply to possible drugging
of the dogs to “fix” races – not to humane standards.
Kennel compounds are carefully guarded to fend off possible race fixing
— however, this also serves as a convenient: cover to keep the treatment
of racing greyhounds away from the public eye.
Although most state governments require a state veterinarian during
races and occasional inspections, government officials have a vested economic
interest (state revenues) in keeping the number of greyhounds killed or
problems and poor conditions hidden from the public – and they do.
Industry Propaganda
The greyhound industry works hard to attempt to convince the public
that most unwanted racing greyhounds are adopted into homes. In truth, thousands
of racing greyhounds are still being killed yearly.
The industry set up the highly-touted American Greyhound Council (AGC)
adoption assistance grants to provide money to adoption groups which meet
its “criteria.” They stipulate that adoption groups must have
“the endorsement of the local track” and “be supportive of
the greyhound racing industry.” The group must provide “accurate,
non-inflammatory information to potential adoption families and the media”
Some funding goes to the few existing track-based adoption programs — organizations
that naturally support greyhound racing.
The AGC did have and often used a greyhound adoption fund administered
by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (New York)
— an alliance the industry often uses to add legitimacy to its efforts.
In 1994, the fund was $74,000.
The ASPCA and the AGC rely primarily on the Greyhound Pets of America
(GPA) to respond to adoption inquiries – ignoring 100 adoption groups throughout
the country who do not promote the greyhound racing industry.
The AGC’s March 31, 1994 annual report indicates that $138,369 was spent
on “public relations.”
Industry “Self-Regulation”
The industry touts its inspection program. There is one full-time inspector
and many “volunteer” inspectors expected to report on their neighboring
farms. There are hundreds of greyhound farms in the state of Florida alone.
Inspections are down to 527 in 1998, from 720 in 1997.
Self-regulation in any industry is subject to suspicion.
Industry critics consider the money spent for self-regulated inspection
programs and adoption support to be additional public relations expenses.
“Neutral” Adoption Groups
Numerous greyhound adoption groups around the country fail to educate
the public about the horrors of greyhound racing despite their inside knowledge
and first-hand experience in dealing with poorly treated animals. Some have
a vested interest in prolonging the existence of the greyhound industry.
Others have unwittingly become partners in the continued exploitation and
suffering of racing greyhounds.
© Copyright 1997-1999 Greyhound Protection League