ANIMAL rights groups tend to generate more heat than light on the issues they exploit to raise money and gain publicity. This is certainly true of Grey2K USA, the animal rights group covered in Dave Boucher's September 4 article about injuries and economics in greyhound racing.
The fact is that only about one-half of one percent of all greyhound racing starts actually result in injury to greyhounds. Of those injuries, the vast majority are so minor that the greyhounds are treated and able to return to racing in a week or two.
On rare occasions, greyhounds experience injuries that end their racing careers. Those that are unable to continue racing are retired into an adoption program, and find loving homes in which to live out their lives.
Nearly 95 percent of all registered racing greyhounds are returned to the farm or placed in adoptive homes when they retire. It's hard to imagine how any reasonable person could fault this outcome.
It should be obvious that greyhound owners and track operators have a vested interest in doing everything possible to reduce the risk of injury to racing greyhounds. That is why tracks spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on track maintenance, training and research to identify and resolve track surface issues that could contribute to greyhound injuries.
Grey2K also misrepresents the economic reality of greyhound racing. The economic benefits of live racing are not limited to the number of tax dollars generated for state coffers.
In most states, racinos have been approved, at least in part, because rural economies benefit from the horse and dog breeding industries that generate jobs, revenue and business activity in farm communities. This is a reality that the urban, well-heeled leaders of Grey2K simply do not understand.
Hopefully your readers will take Grey2K's over-dramatic rhetoric with a grain of salt and recognize that this group's statements should not be taken as fact.
Guccione is with the American Greyhound Council, which funds and oversees dog welfare and adoption programs in greyhound racing.