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Animal Racing Facts
United States, betters wager billions of dollars on dog races every year.
Only four states, California, Maine, Vermont, and Virginia, have banned
greyhound racing. These state laws prohibiting racing are largely
ineffectual, because federal law does not prohibit the interstate shipment
of greyhounds used in racing. One state may ban the breeding of dogs used
for racing, but dog handlers in another state can breed the same dogs and
ship them across state lines.
The greyhound racing industry breeds approximately 50,000 puppies each
year. Of these animals, only 15,000 actually become racing dogs. The rest
are "retired," used as breeding stock, or, in a more likely scenario, shot
and destroyed. The racing industry also sells thousands of dogs considered
unfit for racing to laboratories, which experiment on animals. Thus,
greyhound racing functions not only as a "sport" and gambling enterprise,
but as a breeding facility for cruel vivisection practices.
Dogs that become racing animals do not live less cruel lives. Several
thousand rabbits and other small animals die yearly during the training of
greyhounds. Trainers use these small animals as live bait, exhorting
greyhounds to chase the animals around a track in order to simulate race
conditions. Trainers allow dogs to catch and destroy those bait animals
that are no longer able to run effectively.
Dogs that have no propensity to kill are placed in cages at close
quarters with rabbits. The trainers then deny the dogs food, starving them
until hunger drives them to kill their caged companions. In this way,
trainers awaken bloodlust in dogs that are non-violent by character.
A few states have outlawed the use of live animals in training.
Trainers in these states sometimes employ a "jack-a-lure," a more humane
training method. These electronically powered lures race around tracks,
attracting the attention of greyhounds. Yet many trainers manage to
circumvent state anti-cruelty laws. They ship dogs out of state for live
animal training, then ship them back, a practice that is not prohibited by
federal interstate commerce laws.
Greyhounds that actually become racers live life in small cages,
usually no greater than three feet in diameter. Handlers remove them from
their cages only rarely; to go to the bathroom, and for infrequent races
during the course of a week.
Protest greyhound racing by: Refusing to patronize dog tracks and
encouraging others to do the same. Writing letters to representatives in
states where dog tracks exist. Educating the public about the greyhound
racing industry's cruelty to animals.
For more information on greyhound racing, and what you can do to stop
it, please visit: Greyhound Protection League
takes place throughout the United States. Individual state governments
have their own racing commission agencies. Ostensibly, those commissions
exist for the regulation of the racing industry. According to state law,
however, the racing industry must share revenue with states, and racing
commissions function as umbrella organizations for the racing industry
rather than regulatory agencies. State governments become hesitant to
prosecute racing or animal rights abuses, because they share in animal
Around 800 racehorses die each year from fatal injuries suffered on US
racetracks. An additional number of approximately 3,566 sustain injuries
so bad that they cannot finish their races. Several breeding and horse
handling abuses contribute to the great risk of death and injury that
Breeders often race horses as young as two. These horses lack fully
developed bone structure, and are more likely to suffer injury.
Due to selective genetic pairing and breeding, many racehorses are born
with fragile bodies to begin with. Selective breeding does not provide the
gene pool with diverse enough genetic material to avoid genetic defects
that arise largely as a result of inbreeding. Because jockeys race horses
year round on hard tracks, which give less and are therefor harder on a
horse's joints and bones, horses incur greater injury risk. Large
corporate breeders race their "investments" too often in pursuit of
To keep horses racing through pain, handlers administer Lasix and Bute.
These pain relievers numb pain, but do not treat the injuries that cause
pain. Consequently, these injuries get worse. Horses that suffer severe
injuries as a result of drug induced racing get sold to slaughterhouses, a
more profitable venture for breeders than euthanization. These horses
suffer long cramped rides to the slaughterhouse without painkillers, in
unfit trailers. Handlers also use Lasix to mask the presence of illegal
substances such as steroids.
A horse that fails to win also faces death in a slaughterhouse, where
operators sell the horse's flesh overseas for human consumption, or
provide horsemeat to glue factories.
While horse racing is no longer legal in Belgium, it is a sanctioned
event in many other places in the world. Work to end horse racing by:
Refusing to patronize tracks and by encouraging others to do the same.
Lobbying against the construction of new tracks. Educating the public
about horse racing industry's cruelty to horses.