Greyhound racing is an unsavory business. From poor living conditions to illegal drugs, racing dogs lead unenviable lives.
On top of that, they tend to be short lives. Racers live for only a few years: they “are usually put down if they fail to finish in the top three for five consecutive races,” reports the South China Morning Post.
A few owners who race their dogs are compassionate enough to want the animals adopted rather than killed. But a greyhound boarding facility in Macau is refusing owners’ requests to adopt retired dogs out and insisting on killing them instead, according to the advocacy group Anima.
Even if the Macau Canidrome agreed to adoptions, it might not be easy to find homes for the greyhounds. “Macau is an overcrowded, over-developed enclave dedicated to huge gambling complexes,” The Guardian reports. “It has a shifting population of mainland Chinese tourists and high-rollers and migrant workers from south-east Asia – leaving little time or space for the niceties of pet ownership.”
Most of the dogs at the Canidrome are imported from Australia, which is facing pressure to ban the export of greyhounds to Macau. “Many argue the only solution is to end the racing,” The Guardian notes.
The Macau Canidrome, the only greyhound racing track in Asia, euthanizes more than 30 dogs a month. It also sees a startling number of injuries: “Grey2K said that its analysis of records held by Canidrome showed that 302 greyhounds were injured in a 10-week period, many suffering multiple injuries, including broken limbs,” according to The Guardian. A list of the injuries is available from GREY2K USA.
Greyhounds in the U.S. also suffer frequent injuries, including “broken legs, paralysis, head trauma, and death from cardiac arrest.”
They also suffer more intentional abuse. They “are confined in small cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around for” 20 or more hours each day, according to advocacy group GREY2K USA. In the United States “dogs are fed the cheapest meat available,” meaning the flesh from “dying, diseased, disabled and dead livestock” that is deemed unfit for human consumption.
Some racing dogs are also fed illegal drugs, like cocaine. One trainer found guilty of doping his dog was fined a mere $50.
Mother dogs and their puppies are kept in warehouse-type cages, stacked one atop the other, at American facilities.
The fates of greyhounds bred for racing are not surprising. Any time humans use animals for their own purposes the animals get the short end of the stick: this is the case for factory farming, vivisection and animals in circuses. Matters deteriorate when corporations like the Macau Canidrome enter the picture. As profits become more important the animals’ welfare matters even less than it did before.
The Macau Canidrome has so far refused to develop or participate in an adoption program. It is time to shut it down and end greyhound racing in Asia.