one green planet
one green planet

Many people regard greyhound racing as a harmless, fun activity. After all, greyhounds like to race, right? And if humans want to watch them do so (and gamble on the results) where is the harm in that? It’s a win-win situation for everybody involved! It would be comforting to believe that this is true … but unfortunately, it is not.

Greyhound racing is basically run as a money-making business, meaning that the dogs’ welfare will always come second to their owners’ desire to turn a profit. The industry is notorious for overbreeding and animal abuse. The greyhounds are, more often than not, confined to bleak warehouse-like kennels for the majority of their lives, and only taken out to compete in a race or relieve themselves. On the track, the dogs frequently suffer severe injuries such as leg fractures, head trauma, cardiac arrest, and even paralysis.

A high injury rate, rampant overbreeding, and a “throw away” mentality amongst racing dog owners means that even dogs with minor, treatable conditions are likely to be simply put down instead of receiving the care they need – especially if that dog has not been performing to their handlers’ satisfaction.

Sometimes, greyhound handlers cannot even be bothered to go the effort of having the dog euthanized, and decide to simply abandon the animal … or worse, subject them to appalling cruelty, then abandon them to their fate. This was precisely what happened to a greyhound named Emily in Tipperary, Ireland.

She was found in a ditch by horrified passers-by, who immediately noticed that she had had both of her ears burned out with acid. The tip of her tail had also been hacked off. Animal rights activists believe that the reason her ears were burned was to obscure her identification tattoo so that the cruelty she had endured would not be traced back to her former owner.

Pat Edwards of the Deise Animal Sanctuary – where Emily is currently recovering from her ordeal – said, “This is our latest cruelty case. A blue greyhound girl, ears burned out with chemicals, tail hacked off, bone protruding out the end and emaciated. She put herself in that ditch to die and lay there waiting for the end … This type of cruelty can make us very angry.”

The good news is that this brave girl is now on the mend. It is hoped that although Emily’s tattoos were burnt off, her sadistic former owner could still be identified through hair follicle testing. The Irish Greyhound Board – which is supposed to prevent these heartbreaking cruelty cases, but all too often fails in its duty – has launched an investigation into the incident. Ms Edwards said, “This girl is safe and warm tonight.”

“Maybe she was a champion racer,” she added. “But all that’s left of her now is a broken abused body. Only love and care from here on out though.” Emily’s story is a typical example of the disregard and contempt with which greyhound owners treat their dogs as soon as they are too old or too slow to race.

Luckily, greyhound racing is slowly dying out in the U.S., and grassroots efforts to put an end to the abusive “sport” are gaining steam. GREY2K USA, initially launched as a small movement in Massachusetts, has become the nation’s leading anti-greyhound racing group. Through a number of strategic alliances with other animal protection groups in Europe, Australia, and Asia, they hope to put an end to the global cruelty of greyhound racing for good. Check out their Facebook page to keep up with their activities. To find out how you can help them, click here.

More information about the truth behind greyhound racing can be found below:

All image source: The Irish Sun