by Jennifer Ng, DVM

The association between our beloved retired racing greyhounds and the racing industry is an intimate, but often misunderstood one. As with all breeds of dogs developed for a functional purpose, greyhounds came to exist in the form that they do because of their historic job.  They maintain that form today through continued breeding for athleticism and performance.

Greyhounds were originally developed as a breed to hunt and course prey by sight. The professional racing industry provides a modern test of excellence, helping to preserve the remarkable athletic abilities and graceful form of the greyhounds so many of us have come to know and love.

The characteristics that make retired racers such wonderful pets, are a result of their early upbringing and experiences at the track, not in spite of them.  As professional athletes, they receive top quality care so that they can perform to the best of their abilities.  A racing kennel that does not take care of its dogs would not stay in business for long.  The money that greyhounds earn while racing go toward their day to day care, and is also invested into the next generation of racers.

The entire infrastructure of greyhound racing provides a venue that supports a large and diverse gene pool, which is essential to the long term genetic health of a population. Anyone who truly loves the greyhound and wants to see the breed have a healthy future, needs to consider the implications that ending the racing industry would have on the breed.

For decades, the greyhound racing industry has been under attack by anti-racing, animal rights activists who are trying to get the sport banned.  Like any other community, the racing industry is, of course, not perfect.  But just like most other areas, the good outweighs the bad, and a goal of elimination makes no sense.  In just about any other group or community, the individuals responsible for wrongdoing are singled out for discipline, and the entire profession or group is not targeted for elimination.

To further complicate matters, the push to end greyhound racing also has political components related to gambling and casino interests which are too complex to get into here.  Before believing everything in the media about greyhound racing, it's important to read between the lines and try to figure out what the political motivations are.

The bottom line is that the continuation of greyhound racing is in the best interest of the breed. There is no inherent abuse in the sport of greyhound racing, and in the US, greyhounds are no longer euthanized at the end of their careers.

Between a reduction in breeding and an increase in adoption interest, the numbers of greyhounds retiring from the track have reached an equilibrium with the demand for them as pets.  Adoption groups work cooperatively with tracks and racing kennels to facilitate the greyhounds' transition to pet life after they are done racing. It is no longer a rescue mission, but a cooperative effort by those who truly appreciate the breed, both as remarkable athletes and amazing pets.

For anyone still having doubts about the racing industry, please take the time to do a little research to learn the truth. Get the facts from those who actually work in the industry and take care of the dogs every day. Before simply believing everything you read on the Internet or have always heard about greyhound racing, consider the source. Is it coming from national, animal rights and lobbying organizations who have a political and financial agenda, or is it coming from those with personal knowledge and day-to-day interactions with racing greyhounds?

If we want to see greyhounds have a healthy future, to maintain their remarkable athletic abilities, we need to support the industry and community behind these beautiful dogs. It's time for us to work together for what is truly best for greyhounds.

Copyright Jennifer Ng, 2018


About the author:  Dr. Ng is a respected and experienced Veterinarian serving her patients in the greater Columbia SC area.  She volunteers with Greyhound Crossroads (GC) as well as Whippet Rescue Adoption and Placement (WRAP).  She is the president of local and national coursing events.  We have asked her to contribute her thoughts because she well-known and considered a voice of fair, impartial research, medical opinion, writing about current issues in a clear and concise manner.  She has stood for consistent Greyhound resource assistance for many years. 

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