Animal Inventory Blog

Keeping track of animals in popular culture.

Wonderland Greyhound Racetrack Approaching Foreclosure

Posted by lisagbrown on July 31, 2008

Officials have begun foreclosure proceedings on the greyhound racetrack ‘Wonderland’ in Revere, Massachusetts.  The track owes around $800,000 in back taxes. Animal welfare organizations have tried to shut down greyhound racing in Massachusetts several times, specifically targeting Wonderland, and a proposed dog racing ban will be on the ballot again this fall. (Previous ballots have failed by extremely narrow margins.) This new development will seemingly be a boost for animal activists, who can now cite fiscal irresponsibility, alongside animal welfare concerns.

News of the foreclosure was on television, radio and the internet this morning. However, as of the publishing of this blog entry, there is no news on the potential fate of the animals, should the racetrack be shut down. In fact, the welfare of the dogs was not even mentioned in any of the news coverage that I saw, read and heard this morning. Hopefully, as the story unfolds, this unforgivable omission will be remedied by news outlets.

Why do animal welfarists object to greyhound racing?

The following is an excerpt from the website of Grey2KUSA, a welfare group devoted to ending greyhound racing nationwide:

A Life of Endless Confinement

While at the racetrack, dogs are confined in small cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around for long hours each day. On average, over one thousand dogs live in warehouse style kennels at each racetrack.

Dogs Suffer Serious Injuries

Thousands of dogs are seriously injured each year at commercial racetracks, including dogs that suffer broken legs, cardiac arrest, spinal cord paralysis and broken necks. Unfortunately, not all of these injuries are reported to the public because some states do not even keep records on the number of dogs injured each year.

Dogs are Killed When They are No Longer Profitable

Thousands of dogs are killed when they are injured or are no longer fast enough to be profitable. According to the pro-racing National Greyhound Association, an estimated 5,000 dogs were killed in 2003.

Economic Pressure Leads to Animal Neglect

To racetrack promoters, dogs are short-term investments. Even the fastest dogs only race for a few years, and are expected to generate enough profit during that time to make up for the cost of their food and housing.

The pressure to generate gambling profits can lead to negligent care. Adoption groups frequently receive dogs in a general state of neglect, including dogs suffering from severe infestations of fleas, ticks, and internal parasites.

To cut costs, dogs are fed the cheapest meat available. According to Care of the Racing Greyhound, the primary sources for meat used to feed greyhounds in the United States are “abattoirs that have commercial products of 4-D meat for Greyhounds.” It goes on to add, “The ‘D’ stands for dying, diseased, disabled and dead livestock … this meat is used because it is the most economically feasible at this time.”

The quality of veterinary care a dog receives can also be compromised by financial considerations.

Dogs are Trained With Live Animals, Such as Rabbits

Some members of the dog racing industry believe that training dogs with live animals, such as rabbits, causes them to run faster when competing. While the industry has publicly denounced this practice, it does still occur. In 2002 a greyhound breeder and owner had his state license suspended after he was caught using domestic rabbits to train his dogs. At least 180 rabbits were found at his kennel in rural Arizona.

For more information on greyhound racing, click on the link below.

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