What will happen to Florida’s greyhounds after dog racing ban?
Just recently there was a bill passed to ban dog racing in Florida. But what does this mean for the thousands of Florida greyhounds that were once used to race? Is rehoming the best option? It is a controversial topic that needs more focused thought. Check out the article below for more on whats happening.
One week after Florida voters overwhelmingly chose to ban greyhound racing – eliminating 11 of America’s 17 remaining dog tracks by the end of 2020 – new battle lines are being drawn over who will eventually handle adoptions for the dogs that are now coming up through breeding and training kennels.
If the racing industry and its supporters have their way, it won’t be anybody who convinced Floridians that the dogs needed saving in the first place. The National Greyhound Association, which registers all racing greyhounds and fought the ban, says it will shun any rescue groups that worked to end the sport in the Sunshine State.
“We had over 100 adoption groups that helped support us throughout this ordeal in Florida,” said Jim Gartland, executive director of the association, which argues that racing is not bad for dogs. “They are all what we call responsible, endorsed adoption groups – and those are the groups, being led by Greyhound Pets of America, that we will be working with to place these dogs.”
The battle for access to what could be as many as 7,000 greyhounds – some of which may end up racing in other states where it is legal – reflects a bigger divide that shapes animal welfare politics.
On one side are people who advocate improving animal industry welfare practices while acknowledging the industry will continue to exist. Such groups become bedfellows with the industry, if reluctantly so, because it serves as a source of adoptable dogs. In the area of commercial breeding, for example, some groups that call themselves “puppy mill rescues” buy dogs from the breeders they decry. In the area of greyhound racing, most adoption groups that opposed Florida’s ban have supported or stood neutral on racing.
On the other side are activist organizations that lobby to end certain animal businesses such as dog breeding, retail pet stores and racing altogether.
In the case of Florida’s greyhounds, this divide materialized between groups that have long taken in the industry’s “retired racers” for adoption, and forces led by the Massachusetts-based Grey2K. It partnered with the Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA and other groups that say the dogs are treated cruelly while racing, then cast off when they’re too broken and battered to compete.
Now that the ban has passed, some racing industry advocates say pro-ban activists have no business trying to claim the dogs that will eventually need new homes.
“That’s the one thing that really is frustrating,” said Vera Rasnake, head of media relations for Greyhound Pets of America, which opposed the ban. “You have the animal activists: They want a piece of it. They don’t even know this breed. They don’t even know how to transition them the way they should be transitioned.”
Joanne Johnson of South Carolina-based Greyhound Crossroads, which also opposed the ballot measure, echoed that sentiment.
“You’re putting all these people out of business, closing down breeders, closing down tracks, but there are no provisions in that amendment for the dogs and their welfare,” Johnson says. “Those are the last people that you would send your dogs to if you were forced to retire your racing dogs.”
Originally Reported on AL
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