Success! Florida Voters End Greyhound Racing

Animal advocates are celebrating a historic victory in Florida with the passage of Amendment 13, which will end greyhound racing in the state.

More than 250,000 people signed a Care2 petition to get Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission to put an amendment on the ballot that would phase out greyhound racing in the state by the end of 2020.

Thanks to their efforts, the commission voted earlier this spring to put the amendment on the 2018 ballot, and now that voters have gotten a chance to weigh in, that’s exactly what will happen.

“Because of the decisions of millions of Florida voters, thousands of dogs will be spared the pain and suffering that is inherent in the greyhound racing industry,” said Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “We are so grateful to the volunteers, campaign members, coalition partners, contributors and endorsers who came together in support of this historic effort to end the cruelty of greyhound racing.”

While there are still operational tracks in six states, Florida is home to 11 of 17 of them, along with an estimated 8,000 greyhounds, making this victory especially epic.

Those working to see this ban become a reality have long argued that this inhumane industry needs to be shut down. Unfortunately, racing in Florida was coupled with other forms of gambling – state laws require anyone who runs a gambling facility to offer at least 100 live races every year whether they want to or not, purely for the benefit of owners, breeders and kennel operators.

This ‘coupling’ tactic has helped keep this dying industry alive with no regard to the health or wellbeing of the dogs who are being bred, confined for most of their lives, raced and disposed of—and it’s literally killing them.

Sadly, Florida’s industry has had a long and troubled history involving cases of neglect, having veterinary care withheld, doping and injuries, while it’s estimated that on average one greyhound dies every three days on a track in the state. Even more heartbreaking is that, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), 94 percent of dogs who die at greyhound race tracks are three years old or younger.

“For decades the Florida legislature failed to protect greyhounds abused by the racing industry. Today voters made a historic choice to make Florida a more humane state,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the ALDF. “Amendment 13 puts an end to the cycle of cruelty that victimized greyhounds in the state for far too long. These social dogs will soon be able to retire and enjoy running on their own terms, without being forced to spend most of their days in cages or being drugged to enhance their performance.”

Supporters hope this victory spells the beginning of the end for greyhound racing in the states with active tracks, including Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Texas and West Virginia, and are urging people to get involved with rescue and adoption as dogs who are transitioned out will soon be needing forever homes.

“In the coming days we will reach out to the greyhound industry as the adoption process begins. Greyhounds make wonderful companions, and this is an opportunity to help thousands of dogs find loving homes. While the vote is over, our work is far from one,” GREY2K said in a statement.

For more on ways to help check out GREY2K, and if you’re interested in getting involved with greyhound rescue, or adopting one, check out the organization’s adoption page where you can find a list of national and international adoption groups.

Photo credit: Getty Images

77 comments

Fran F
Fran F1 days ago

Fantastic news!

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Filomena C
Filomena C2 days ago

Very good news!

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Filomena C
Filomena C2 days ago

Thanks

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Izorie I
Izorie I3 days ago

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divergent r

wonderful news

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Christina C
Christina C5 days ago

Great news, thank you for sharing!

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Elisabeth T
Elisabeth T5 days ago

Good news, thanks for sharing!

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Barbara B
Barbara B6 days ago

Finally we Floridians got something right!! Unfortunately more dogs will die before racing ends in 2020 but the end is in sight and that's fantastic.

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