K9 Magazine posted a story about a racing Greyhound named Droopys Arshavin who tested positive for cocaine after a race at Wimbledon on August 3rd. Stuart Mason, Droopys’ trainer has been brought up on charges by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.
GBGB is the authority in England responsible for governing, regulating and managing Greyhound racing, which is considered a sport there. GBGB’s home page paints Greyhound racing as a fun and exciting time for all. It claims Greyhound racing, “…remains one of the country’s most popular spectator sports.”
Greyhounds were originally bred for hunting. Their unique physique of a light but muscular build, along with their long legs and double suspension gallop, make them wonderful sprinters. Unfortunately for the dogs, humans found a different way to exploit them — racing.
Why would someone give a dog cocaine? For the same reason professional athletes take steroids: to enhance performance. The difference being, a pro athlete makes the conscious choice to take performance enhancing drugs. A dog is force fed them.
That brings us back to the reason for forcing Greyhounds to race in the first place — money. Gambling on Greyhound racing is a huge industry in the United Kingdom. Other countries that condone Greyhound racing and gambling are the United States, Ireland, Australia, Spain, China and Mexico.
Animal welfare advocates have raised numerous concerns over the treatment and breeding of Greyhounds for racing. And rightfully so.
Every year thousands of Greyhound puppies are born into the racing industry. And it is reported that in the UK every year, about two-thirds of the Greyhounds bred for racing are culled — a euphamism for killed — as they prove too slow for the sport.
The remaining pups who are considered racing material are trained for life on a track. This entails living outside in small kennels with little human interaction or contact. Even though it is illegal in the UK to train Greyhounds through the practice of “blooding” — baiting with a live, small animal like a rabbit — its occurrence is considered an open secret among Greyhound trainers.
An undercover investigation was performed in 1993 about Greyhound racing in the UK. Unfortunately, 17 years later, much of the video is still accurate.
The expected working career for a Greyhound is one to two years. If the dog survives his/her racing days without injury, he/she may be lucky enough to find an adopted family. But sadly, most are simply tossed away like a piece of trash.
Demonstrating this is the 2007 case of David Smith, a Seaham, UK, builder paid £10 per head to shoot and bury thousands of ex-racing Greyhounds. He admitted accepting money to kill the dogs, which he did with a bolt gun to the head and then buried them on his property. He was prosecuted. But not for animal cruelty, but instead for burying the carcasses without a permit. The punishment was only a £2,000 fine.
Do you want to help Greyhounds abused in the racing life? Simple:
- Do not be a spectator in Greyhound racing
- Speak out against the industry
- Work on getting laws changed
- Educate people about the evils of Greyhound racing
- Adopt a former Greyhound racer
- Volunteer for a Greyhound rescue group
Stay tuned to Care2 for updates on the fate of Stuart Mason — the trainer accused of feeding cocaine to his racing Greyhound, Droopys Arshavin.
Flickr: Ronnie Macdonald