Thursday, November 08, 2018

Greyhounds in the River


A slightly modified tale:

One summer in the village, the people gathered for a picnic. As they shared food and conversation, someone noticed a Greyhound in the river, struggling and flailing about.

The dog was going to drown!

Someone rushed to save the dog. Then, they noticed another yowling Greyhound in the river, and they rushed in to pull that dog out. Soon, more dogs were seen drowning in the river, and the townspeople were pulling them out as fast as they could. It took great effort, and they began to organize their activities in order to save the Greyhounds as they came down the river. As everyone else was busy in the rescue efforts to save the dogs, two of the townspeople started to run up the shore of the river.

“Where are you going?” shouted one of the rescuers. “We need you here to help us save these dogs!”

“We are going upstream to stop whoever is throwing them in!”

I recount this story because for years greyhound rescue groups have been collecting money and rehoming dogs that have "retired" from the track.

These groups, so far as I can tell, did not beat the drum too loudly about the many thousands of excess greyhounds bred and killed before they got to the track, nor was much commotion made about the dogs which wrecked themselves racing and were euthanized at the track (about three dogs a week in Florida alone), or the dogs that were pumped full of drugs, or the dogs left to languish 22 hours a day in small box kennels

Now that greyhound racing has been banned in Florida, we are told there will a huge influx of greyhounds to rescue. That may be true. But if true, it will be a one-time thing rather than a decades long continuation of dog killing and dog abandonment that seems to have been accepted as "business as usual" in the greyhound community.

Let’s also note that the total number of dogs now commercially raced in America (9,000 dogs) is substantially less than the number of dogs the greyhound industry claimed they were rehoming every year just a few years back (18,000 dogs). 

In short, this “going out of business” rescue sale for the greyhound tracks is not a proxigean spring tide for greyhound rescue; it’s simply the last sad waltz of a sick and dying industry that has been crumbling for decades,

Yes, step up and help greyhound rescue at this critical time.  I'm all for that.  But let's also recognize that this is also going to be a giant step up for hundreds of thousands of future dogs that will never be jettisoned as soon as they are no longer in the money. Let's celebrate that!

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