You’d Be Afraid for Your Health if You Ate This Meat, So Why Feed it to Greyhounds?

Last week, the News-Journal reported on the deaths of two racing greyhounds at Daytona Beach Kennel Club. According to state records the dogs were found in the bottom of their cages, lying in pools of blood. Nearly a hundred other greyhounds in the same kennel also became ill, apparently from a foodborne pathogen.

At dog tracks across the country, greyhounds are fed 4-D meat. In light of the Daytona incident, here are seven things you might not know about this standard practice:

1. 4-D stands for dying, diseased, disabled and dead livestock. This meat is deemed unfit for human consumption, and includes denatured charcoal to prevent human use.

2. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the use of 4-D meat in the racing industry is a potential health hazard. According to an FDA Compliance Policy Guide, the use of 4-D meat at dog tracks “may present a potential health hazard to the animals that consume it and to the people who handle it.” The FDA also considers 4-D meat an “adulterated” product, and its shipment across state lines “is subject to appropriate regulatory action.”

3. Multiple studies have proven a direct link between 4-D meat and dangerous pathogens, including Salmonella. Also, according to an industry expert, racing greyhounds suffer from foodborne illnesses that other dogs do not. In a 1996 article, Dr. Brad Fenwick claimed that “foodborne diseases in dogs appear to be rare with the exception of greyhounds in the United States.”

4. Greyhound trainers use 4-D meat as a way to cut costs. According to industry handbook Care of the Racing and Retired Greyhound, 4-D meat is used because “it is the most economically feasible for the Greyhound industry at this time.” This same handbook also reports problems associated with the use of this meat, including exposure to pathogenic bacteria and false drug positives.

4-D meat is mixed in large bathtubs at the track

5. Greyhounds are fed 4-D meat raw. Cooking the meat would remove dangerous pathogens, but greyhound trainers refuse to do so because they are afraid of negatively affecting race performance.

6. The use of raw 4-D meat at dog tracks is banned in South Tucson, Ariz. This prohibition was approved by local voters in 2008. Unfortunately, it’s not clear whether this law has ever been enforced.

7. This cheap meat is used at every dog track in the country. According to a 2003 letter from the National Greyhound Association, the NGA is “unaware of any professional Greyhound kennels or farms that use any other classification of meat as a major part of their Greyhound feeding programs.”

The use of cheap 4-D meat is another example of how the dog racing industry cuts corners. The industry seeks to maximize the profit margin for every dog, at the expense of animal welfare. Unfortunately, greyhounds are continuing to suffer as a result of this recklessness.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Dave and Rita Cross

If you care about greyhounds, never attend a dog race! These people exploit, abuse and kill these precious animals, all for profit! Disgusting? You bet!

Alexandra G.
Alexandra G3 years ago

Close down these race tracks !!!

Betty Kelly
Betty Kelly3 years ago

In view of animal cruelty laws why is this allowed? All the people & organizations that care for animals need to find the way to enforce the laws and end this horrible business.

Aurea Walker

The owners of these beautiful sentient beings make their living off these greyhounds and cannot or will not spend the money to feed them correctly is insane just from a business perspective! Am against using any sentient for human entertainment period. Article fails to mention the high kill rate of these gorgeous greyhounds after they have served out their usefulness to the POS owners. Greyhound dog racing owners are no better than dog fighting owners, the utter gutter!

Angela Roquemore
Angela Roquemore3 years ago

#5 is complete and utter HORSE HOCKEY! Cooked foods DO NOT cut performance. If it did, Olympic atheletes would be eating raw food.

William Eaves
William Eaves3 years ago


Margie Szelmeczka

This has been known for a long time. It is just not believed or cared until some poor animals suffer from it. One good reason to either make your own food. Dr. Pitacirn
DVM wrote a book title "How to raise dogs and cats naturally"
2 other things to look out for is their water. Distilled is the best, or bottle water.

The other thing is using a water purifier. Unless you check the Ph. factor after doing it, you may be changing it from neutral to acid (which causes intestinal upset).
I did mine at a professional lab. The 1st two are from the faucet in 2 different locations. The second set are the results
Tap water pH 7.18 Tap 7.22
Filtered pH 6.23 5.69 both pH on this line are acid

Warren Biggs
Warren Biggs3 years ago

If only people would stop going to and gambling on animal "sports" of any kind...

Pamela LaVeille
Pamela L3 years ago

This is so sad!