I was recently contacted by someone who loves greyhounds like I do. However, unlike me, this greyhound lover doesn’t love greyhound racing. He detailed a list of cruel practices that have been documented within the industry, some of which would make any decent person sick. If I ever saw anyone mistreating a greyhound, I’d report them in a heartbeat. However, I believe that greyhound racing can exist without cruelty. That’s what we need to work on, instead of trying to ban greyhound racing.
Greyhounds are made for chasing things. They’ll chase anything that moves, whether it’s a lure that humans run by them or a squirrel in a park. I firmly believe that if greyhound racing was banned, there wouldn’t be many greyhounds around in a decade or so. True, they’re gentle, lovable dogs, but they’re also present on earth in large numbers because of the greyhound racing industry.
Hunting, which is what greyhounds were originally bred to help with, isn’t as popular nowadays as it was when humans hunted for food, rather than sport. Lure coursing, something that greyhound owners do with their dogs, including retired racers, isn’t popular enough to support a big population of greyhounds either.
While research shows that the injury ratio of greyhounds is only .2%, much lower than the rate for kids in sports and professional athletes, that’s still too high. However it could be lower if tracks were constructed differently.
In order to reduce or eliminate injuries, tracks need the following: an even and consistent surface, turns that are banked properly and not angled too sharply, proper and regular maintenance and – most importantly – constant evaluation to make sure that the track is as it should be.
Of course, it goes without saying that proper nutrition, plenty of exercise and playtime with people and other dogs, as little time as possible in crates or holding areas, the best medical treatment and complete supervision of their care and racing is the goal that all tracks should aim for.
As a fan and bettor, I do all I can to promote that and advocate for it. I hope you will too. Here’s a link to the American Greyhound Council where you can find out much more about what tracks are doing to make sure that greyhounds are happy and healthy from the farm to the track and on into retirement.