While it still takes place illegally, Greyhound racing was banned in South Africa in 1945, since gambling was considered immoral. Apparently the definition of what’s moral can change over time since the Department of Trade and Industry is looking into the possible legalization of this so called sport.
Proponents of racing would like people to believe it is a well-regulated sport that could generate 30,000 jobs and revenue of $1.5 billion in South Africa.
Animal welfare groups have called those numbers into question, arguing that the math doesn’t add up. In addition, they point out numerous disadvantages of the possible reintroduction. A huge concern, besides exploiting these dogs, is that thousands of unwanted dogs will be produced, most of who will find themselves the recipients of miserable life ended by an untimely and gruesome death, along with straining the resources of already struggling animal welfare groups.
The Independent told the story of a dog named Rusty who was found “lying whimpering on a rubbish dump, his tail still wagging. He was shot through the head with a captive-bolt pistol and his ears cut off to remove identifying tattoos after performing badly in a race.”
Reports like this aren’t scarce either.
Christina Pretorius, Head of Programmes for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, makes a good point, “By encouraging the idea that one may profit from racing greyhounds, illegal racing will spiral out of control in disadvantaged communities.”
“Additionally, greyhounds that have reached the end of their usefulness as racing dogs (from two to four years old), will be relinquished further adding to the burden of animal welfare organizations and encouraging a destructive cycle of animal abuse.”
Chris Kuch, spokesman for the NSPCA, said dog racing internationally had resulted in the unnecessary suffering of thousands of animals.
“The industry has marketed the concept of fun, entertainment, excitement and get-rich- quickly – and even job creation – as to why this sport is merited, all the while denying the underlying truth of generating large income for a few at the expense of many.”
Considering what we know about what happens to these dogs, it’s pretty obscene that they would even consider bringing racing back. These dogs deserve sooooooo much better.
YOU CAN HELP!
Contact Professor Elizabeth Snyman-Van Deventer of the University of the Free State Faculty of Law, which has been appointed by the Department of Trade and Industry to conduct research on the possible legalization of greyhound racing by fax at 051-401-2698 or e-mail it to email@example.com.
You can also sign Care2’s petition against legalizing this sport in South Africa here.