I respectfully urge you to block plans to bring dog racing to Punjab and to support a clarification that dog racing is illegal and undesirable in India. Worldwide, greyhound racing is a dying industry that is inherently cruel to dogs. When first invented in the United States in the 1920’s, Americans could not foresee that thousands and thousands of dogs would suffer and die each year as a result....
I respectfully urge you to block plans to bring dog racing to Punjab and to support a clarification that dog racing is illegal and undesirable in India. Worldwide, greyhound racing is a dying industry that is inherently cruel to dogs. When first invented in the United States in the 1920’s, Americans could not foresee that thousands and thousands of dogs would suffer and die each year as a result. Records were not kept of track injuries or deaths, and the public could not know what happened to racing dogs.
But today, thanks to the enactment of reporting laws, American track records are now established as public documents. In the state of Colorado for example, 2,600 injuries were reported in the last years of racing. In Arizona, 923 greyhound injuries were reported between 2007 and 2009. At two tracks in West Virginia, over 4,000 injuries occurred and 242 dogs have died from January 2008 through December 2012. The majority of injuries tend to be broken legs, and other documented injuries include dislocations, torn muscles, paralysis, broken necks and broken backs. Electrocutions have also occurred when dogs make contact with the livewire lure. Some dogs die while racing, while others are put down due to the severity of their injuries, or simply because of their diminished value as racers.
When not racing, these gentle dogs endure lives of terrible confinement. They are kept inside warehouse-style kennels, in rows of stacked cages that are barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around. According to industry statements, greyhounds are kept confined in this fashion for twenty or more hours each day, with two exceptions: 1. A few times per month, they are removed and taken to a racetrack to compete, and 2. A few times per day, greyhounds are turned out in a large group by gender and allowed to relieve themselves. These turn-outs account for a total cumulative period of three to five hours per day.
The diet of racing greyhounds is based on inexpensive meat obtained from dying, diseased, disabled and dead livestock, meat that has been deemed unfit for human consumption. This rejected meat is referred to as “4-D” by the United States Department of Agriculture and exposes greyhounds to pathogenic microorganisms, including Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, and Escherichia coli. The USDA also cautions of a potential health hazard to people who handle such meat, but short cuts like this are symbolic of the greyhound racing business.
The documented decline of greyhound racing has been ongoing for years, and media outlets have long reported the spiraling collapse of this cruel industry. Between 2002 and 2010, the total amount gambled on American greyhound racing declined by 63%. Additionally, the number of tracks has been cut in half. In the United Kingdom, all but one of the London dog tracks have closed and the land been re-purposed for mixed housing and retail operations. Jamaica refused to legalize dog racing in 2009 and South Africa followed in 2010, citing both the poor economics and humane problems associated with the activity. The trend is definitely with the greyhounds and follows a love of dogs which truly transcends all cultures.
We would particularly call to your attention the recent experience of the U.S. Territory of Guam. In 2009, after several years of financial losses, the owner abruptly closed down their facility and abandoned hundreds of dogs. The result was an urgent public health and humane dilemma which was publicized worldwide.
Like Guam, Punjab would be challenged to offer homes for greyhounds once they were no longer used for racing. An ongoing, expensive adoption strategy would be required to deal humanely with the overload of dogs created by any formalization of dog racing in Punjab or elsewhere in the country.
In closing, the introduction of widespread dog racing would represent a step backwards, and result in both financial losses and harm to the humane traditions of India. Clearly, the use of greyhounds in such a corrupt activity would contribute to the desensitization of society to animal welfare. Witnessing the severe injuries and deaths that racing greyhounds frequently endure would condition viewers, including young children, to regard them as mere objects to be used and abused in the name of entertainment.
As of 2013, dog racing is illegal in the majority of the United States. The trend is now with the greyhounds! I urge you to oppose the introduction of dog racing into your beautiful homeland which is
known worldwide for its peaceful reverence for life.