Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Goal: To end the abusive “sport” of greyhound racing nationally.
The cruel sport of greyhound racing still takes place at 21 race tracks around the country. Thousands of greyhounds endure confinement of more than 20 hours per day. They are only allowed out of their cramped cages to relieve themselves or to race. Greyhounds are forced to race in all types of weather, from extreme heat to extreme cold, despite their lack of body fat and thin coats. Many suffer from heat exhaustion and stress due to these cruel and inhumane racing conditions.
Greyhounds are forced to live in cramped cages that are not high enough for a large greyhound to stand fully erect. The cages are stacked, with only paper scraps or carpet remnants for bedding. Most racing greyhounds live their lives without veterinary care, human affection, or adequate sustenance.
Greyhounds at race tracks suffer serious injuries such as a broken leg, head trauma, electrocution, cardiac arrest, and spinal cord paralysis. Between 2008 and 2015, there were 12,222 documented greyhound injuries at racetracks in the United States. These injuries do not include data from Alabama and Florida, where a majority of greyhound race tracks are located.
Cases of cruelty and neglect have been documented at race tracks and breeding facilities. There are approximately 300 greyhound breeding facilities. Puppies’ ears are tattooed at a few months of age and their dew claws are amputated without anesthesia. Dogs are usually kept outside in dirt pens with little shelter. In Arkansas, more than 140 neglected greyhounds were found at a breeding facility. In Florida, dozens of greyhounds were starved to death.
To save money, greyhounds at racetracks are also fed meat that is deemed unfit for human consumption. The meat comes from dying, diseased, disabled, or dead livestock – 4-D meat. The 4-D meat is also used in commercial dog food; however, it is not raw. Greyhound trainers will not cook the 4-D meat for fear that it will negatively impact their racing performance.
No national records are kept on how many greyhounds are euthanized when they are no longer profitable. Tens of thousands of greyhounds are retired each year, but only a small number are rehomed. The majority are inhumanely killed by starvation, beaten, drowned, abandoned, or sold for animal experimentation. Before being murdered, a greyhound’s ears are routinely sliced off to remove their identifying tattoos.
The Animal Welfare Act sets out the minimal acceptable standards for animal treatment and was enacted to protect animals from abuse and exploitation. The greyhound racing industry has repeatedly proven that it exploits and inhumanely tortures greyhounds for commercial gain. By signing this petition, you will urge USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to enforce the AWA and ban greyhound racing completely in the United States. Greyhound racing is cruel and racing dogs are tortured and treated inhumanely throughout their lives, and deaths. Please sign the petition and save a greyhound’s life.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
Greyhound racing is an industry that has seen its day and now is the time to ensure that no more greyhounds are treated cruelly and inhumanely for commercial gain. Too many greyhounds are bred at inadequate breeding facilities and tortured with tattooing and dew claw removal at an early age.
The torture does not stop there. Racing greyhounds are confined to their cages for up to 20 hours per day and fed a diet of raw, sub-par meat. When they are no longer profitable for a trainer, they are terminally neglected or disposed of through brutal and callous methods.
Animals deserve our protection and care. We, the undersigned, urge you to ban the exploitation of greyhounds through racing under the Animal Welfare Act. All racing greyhounds need to be rehomed through rescue organizations in families that will provide necessary veterinary care, affection, and adequate food. Please stop the torture and abuse of greyhounds and ban greyhound racing.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Juan Pablo Fuentes