In many cultures around the world, dogs are seen as companions. They are part of our families and even people who may not care for other animals see dogs and cats as an exception because they are so intertwined with our daily lives. However, this compassion does not extend to dogs in the greyhound racing industry. As Sara Farr states: “Greyhounds used for racing are valued for the monetary worth only – and as a result, subjected to terrible abuse.”
The conditions at the track are dangerous, with little to no medical care. They also spend about 20 hours of the day in crates stacked on top of each other. They also spend most of their time with muzzles on, causing mouth sores, parasites, and the spreading of diseases. Racing dogs die at alarming rates on the racetrack as well, due to causes like starvation, dehydration, heatstroke, and more. When they can no longer perform the same as they age, they are lucky if they can be rescued, but many of them are just killed or used for breeding.
In Ireland, one thousand percent more dogs than necessary are bred for greyhound racing, according to RTÉ. In 2017, about 6,000 dogs were slaughtered because they weren’t ‘good enough’ to race. Despite all this, the government via the Department of Agriculture decided to allocate 16.8 million euros. People were reasonably upset about this with a caller to the RTE’s Today show with Sean O’Rourke telling Finance Minister Paschal O’Donohue: “Give back to people like carers in this country who provide an invaluable service rather than an activity which causes such cruelty to animals.”
The government defended their decision but a recent rescue is bringing to light the cruelty behind this industry and just how wrong of a decision it was to give them that much money. Earlier this week, revenue chiefs seized 12 greyhounds from the back of a van that was smuggling them from Dublin Port to Spain.
The dogs were dehydrated with no access to food or water, muzzled, and locked up in cramped cages. Of the 12 dogs, nine raced in the past month, one last raced in 2016, and two have no recorded races, but they are all registered to race. Fortunately, they have been taken into care by the DSPCA where they are recovering and being cared for.
DSPCA wrote on Facebook: “We would ask that if you or anyone you know is considering or has planned Christmas/New Years or a Corporate Event at a Greyhound Track to please reconsider.” To stand up against this cruel industry, sign this petition calling for an end to greyhound racing in Ireland!
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