This page is dedicated to dispelling the myths and misinformation surrounding greyhounds and greyhound racing.
Myth: Greyhounds do not like to race and are forced to chase after the mechanical lure.
Truth: Greyhounds are sighthounds and thus chase the lure by instinct, just as they would chase anything that moves. The chase itself is a reward for the greyhound. They exhibit excitement prior to race time because they cannot wait to begin the chase.
Myth: Greyhounds are starved so that they will be motivated to chase the lure.
Truth: Greyhounds are naturally lean, athletic dogs. When racing, they are kept in optimal condition and fitness.
Myth: Greyhounds are fed a poor diet.
Truth: Greyhounds are fed a diet or raw or cooked beef and dry dog food with vegetables, pasta and/or rice plus nutritional supplements.
Myth: Greyhounds wear muzzles because they are mean.
Truth: Greyhounds wear muzzles while racing to protect them from accidentally injuring themselves or one another during the excitement of the chase, and so racing officials can, more easily, determine the outcome of a photo finish race.
Myth: Greyhounds do not enjoy living in the kennel.
Truth: Each greyhound living in a kennel has its own “condo” – an enclosure generally ranging in size, lined with carpet or other bedding that is the greyhound’s own personal space while racing. Since dogs are den animals that live in packs, greyhounds have the privacy and security of their own space and the company of other greyhounds.
Myth: Greyhounds are trained with live animals, such as rabbits.
Truth: Greyhounds are trained using artificial lures. State laws and/or racing regulations prohibit use of live lures in training or racing. Individuals who violate this practice may be expelled from the sport for life.
Like all sighthounds, greyhounds run and chase by instinct. They generally begin serious training at about one year old where their training consists of chasing after a lure dragged along the ground. Later, they are taught to run on tracks, with an artificial lure suspended above the ground.
“Why” and “How”
Have you ever wondered “WHY” Grey2K tells the public about all the bad things involved in racing, claiming they want to protect the dogs while they never do. Ending racing doesn’t protect the dogs, it ends gambling. Puppy-mills will take over breeding greyhounds. Will Grey2K protect them then?
Have you ever wondered “WHY” Grey2K sees all the bad things going on within racing and elects to talk about them in the newspapers, but have never once turned the perpetrators in to the police for animal abuse and mistreatment? They tell people they want to protect the dogs, but never do.
Have you ever wondered “WHY” Grey2K tells you that thousands of greyhounds are killed every year and yet the adoption groups have more dogs than they can handle?
Have you ever wondered “WHY” Grey2K tells the public that racing kills more dogs than it breeds, yet the breed still exists?
Have you ever wondered “HOW” Grey2K can tell the public that the slow puppies are killed, yet the dogmen don’t know at that age which puppy might be the fastest as they mature at different rates? Some puppies do not mature into racers until 24 months of age or later.
Have you ever wondered “HOW” Grey2K can tell you…….
Grey2K can tell you anything they want, but they DO NOT know the “HOW” or “WHY” concerning anything involved in greyhound racing. They have never bred, whelped, raised, trained or raced a greyhound. They take the bad they hear and apply it to the whole racing community. In all walks of life there are bad people and racing is no different. However, when you hear of a murder, rape or child abuser being arrested in your town, do you think that everyone is a murderer, rapist or child abuser? Those people are a very small percentage of the population and it’s no different within the greyhound racing community. These bad people exist but they are not the face of the greyhound racing community.
The face of greyhound racing is the farmer that breeds and then whelps a litter, handles the pups every day while raising and nurturing them as they grow. The farmer, that one day lets them out in a run and watches as they explore for the first time, runing and smelling the new scents. The farmer that feeds them well so they will grow up bigger and stronger every day. The farmer that will, one day, put them in his 5 acre sprint field and watch them run joyfully for the first time. The farmer is the face of greyhound racing, you will never know about him because Grey2K chooses to only show their side of greyhound racing.
Have you ever wondered “WHY” if 4-D meat is as bad for the greyhounds as Grey2K claims, then “WHY” does the breed still exist, bigger and stronger than ever? A Leopard will kill an Antelope and carry it up a tree so the Lions cannot get it. In the 120 degree heat of Africa that carcass is decaying after a day in the tree, and yet 2 or 3 days later the Leopard is still eating it. Mother nature has a way of taking care of animals and their digestive systems are different from humans. 4-D meat is clearly marked “Not For Human Consumption”, greyhounds are not human and it is just fine for them to eat the meat. 4-D meat is also in many brands of canned dog food that you feed your own pets. The meat is denatured with ground charcoal, which halts most harmful bacteria and is neutral (or even beneficial) in dogs. The following is from the Federal Meat Inspection Act, 644 Regulation of transactions, transportation, or importation of 4-D animals to prevent use in human food: No person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of buying, selling or transporting in commerce, or importing dead, dying, disabled, or diseased animals, or any parts of the carcasses of any animals that died otherwise than by slaughter, shall buy, sell, transport, offer for sale or transportation, or receive for transportation, in commerce, or import, any dead, dying, disabled, or diseased cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules or other equine, or parts of the carcasses of any such animals that died otherwise than by slaughter, unless such transportation or importation is made in accordance with such regulation as the Secretary may prescribe to assure that such animals, or the unwholesome parts or products thereof, will be prevented from being used for human food purposes.
Grey2K has an agenda and it is not to help greyhounds, greyhounds are not in need of their help. The agenda of Grey2K is to end gambling in this country. Carey Theil, one of the founders of Grey2K, sits on the board of directors of the anti gambling group called Stop Predatory Gambling, their previous name was the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling.
The next time you see an article from Grey2K just ask yourself : “HOW” do they know that? “WHY” do they care? The answers: They don’t and to stop gambling.
5 Disturbing Facts About Grey2K
Grey2K Is Known For Distorting The Facts.
On November 6, 2000, the Boston Herald called Grey2K’s campaign to ban greyhound racing in Massachusetts “…a ruthless campaign of deceit, distortion and defamation of character”.
Grey2K Actively Opposes Mainstream Adoption Groups.
On February 5, 2009, Grey2K President Christine Dorchak published a newsletter advising supporters to “refrain from interacting” with the nation’s largest independent greyhound adoption group, Greyhound Pets of America.
Grey2K Provides No Direct Services To Greyhounds
Grey2K’s 2008 IRS 990 return reveals that the organization spends nothing-zero-on direct services to benefit greyhounds or adoption. Instead, 53% of it’s budget goes to lobbying. (www.guidestar.org).
Grey2K Receives Most Of It’s Funds From HSUS
Grey2K’s Committee to Protect the Dogs, according to it’s 2008 990 IRS Form, received at least $300,000 from the Humane Society of the U.S., a very wealthy animal rights group. HSUS President Wayne Pacelle is on supporting the extinction of domestic animals such as dogs and cats because they are “creations of human selective breeding”. (Animal People, 1993).
Grey2K’s Agenda Is Political, Not Humane
Since Grey2K does not provide any direct services or benefits to greyhounds, it must justify it’s existence by promoting a political agenda using deceptive tactics and misinformation. It’s fund-raising efforts are for self-preservation, not for greyhound welfare.
LIFE AFTER RACING IN THE USA
BEHIND GREY2K By Leslie Wootten
The truth about Grey2K is that President Christine Dorchak and her husband Cary Theil, Executive Director, make a living off Greyhound racing as they work politically to shut it down. In this tough economic climate, their incomes are secure. Unfortunately, their political triumphs don’t just put Greyhounds out of work, and possibly at risk, but also hundreds of racetrack employees, kennel managers, and trainers, many of whom end up in unemployment lines. Grey2K’s purported concern for the welfare of Greyhounds is questionable when Dorchak and Theil are the only ones going home with paychecks.
Grey2K’s financial strength comes primarily from the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) and Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCAs). Both HSUS and SPCAs are extremely wealthy “animal advocacy” organizations. Like Grey2K, HSUS is a political machine. According to “Humane Watch”, HSUS is not affiliated with any hands-on “humane society” organizations, and it doesn’t operate a single pet shelter or pet adoption facility anywhere. During 2008, HSUS contributed less than one-half of one percent of it’s budget in grants to dog and cat shelters. In 2009, the contribution went up somewhat, but still hovered under one percent.
Historically, HSUS and SPCA advocacy claims have been questionable. Joan Dillon’s article, “The Greyhound Adoption Movement: Changing an Image,” offers reasons why. She cites an October 1980 article by Sandra Rappaport in Animals, a magazine published by the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), which states, “Although they are friendly to people, racing greyhounds seldom make good pets. Training has ruined their tolerance for everyday life with people or other animals.” Rappaport went on to quote an MSPCA official who stated, “No one wants a burned-out greyhound when there are so many other dogs to choose from.”
Dillion’s article points out that prior to the early 1980s, “animal advocacy” groups opposed placement of Greyhounds as pets because they believed them to be vicious dogs, unsuitable for domestic life. In 1981, Seabrook Greyhound Park in New Hampshire proved otherwise when it began the first wide-scale movement to promote Greyhounds as pets. Adoption expanded with the 1992 of GPA’s precursor, Retired Greyhounds as Pets (REGAP) in Florida.
Nevertheless, HSUS President John Hoyt supported the humane destruction of retired racing Greyhounds as late as 1983. In an interview with Turnout Magazine, Hoyt remarked, “I don’t think the humane movement would be quick to condemn the humane destruction of these greyhounds…we would rather see them humanely destroyed than to see someone attempt to perpetuate them on a farm for retired greyhounds for years and years to come.”
For many years, HSUS, ASPCA and affiliates, have been the major money and power fueling Grey2K. In fact, while Grey2K is the rhetorical face of anti-racing advocacy, it’s benefactors pull strings behind the scenes. Financial records for HSUS reflect that it donated $400,000 to Grey2K’s political action arm, “Committee to Protect Dogs” (CPD) during 2007 and 2008. Massachusetts campaign and political finance records reflect that the MSPCA donated $26,000 and Grey2K donated $98,000 to the lobbying arm in 2008. ASPCA records reflect that in 2010, it donated $25,000 to Grey2K’s education efforts. During 2009 (as in all years), virtually all of Grey2K’s $347,000 revenue went directly or indirectly into anti-racing lobby efforts, with $89,000 lining the personal pockets of Dorchak and Theil in salary and benefits. The bottom line remains steady: Greyhounds themselves get lost in all but the rhetoric as these political entities posture and jive, looking pretty.
Recent examples of HSUS and ASPCA anti-racing support for Grey2K are apparent in their sponsorship of “lobbying” seminars in Arizona, Iowa, and Florida where bills to end live racing have been introduced this this year (2011). On the Grey2K website, Dorchak posted an invitation to, “Join me in Phoenix to lobby for Greyhounds.” I sent an email to her indicating I would like to attend the seminar, but I received the following message: “The event on the 17th is an opportunity for the volunteers who want to end greyhound racing to work together. I have spoken with the sponsor and she has made it clear that this is not an event for racing proponents, nor is it a media event.” To point out why I was unwelcome, she included a link to my website, which reflects that I am an historian of Greyhound Racing. She also posted a link to a comment I posted in 2009 on a Global Greyhounds’ discussion forum in which I praised a well-articulated rebuttal to an opinion piece written by a Grey2K volunteer.
Of interest is that HSUS and ASPCA are apparently choosing to hide behind a smokescreen these days, despite their well-known anti-racing support of Grey2K. In a recent Associated Press article by Sue Manning, “Ride of His Life: Activists Target Sled Rides after Dog Deaths,” HSUS indicated that it “doesn’t have an official position on racing for sport or recreation, just that it be humane to animals.” In the same article, ASPCA is cited as not opposing racing, but tht it does oppose, “Any and all cruel practices involved in the sport of racing dogs, horses, or other animals, whether for speed, endurance or both, on tracks, trails or snow.”
The American Greyhound Council takes the two groups to task for these comments, suggesting they admit their radical agendas instead of hiding behind the Grey2K curtain. “Our message to these organizations is simple,” AGC Communications Coordinator, Gary Guccione, wrote in a February 14, 2011 communique’. “If you believe your position on Greyhound racing is right, then own it. Admit that you’re opposed to dog racing, horse racing, animal agriculture, biomedical research, zoos, circuses, fishing and hunting. Tell the truth.”
Tell the truth, indeed. The public deserves to know the reality behind the facade.
Endnotes Part IV: What you can do.
As members of the public, know the organizations you donate time or money to. Investigate what the donations are actually being used for. Look them up on www.guidestar.org, a free service that posts financial and other information on nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit tax returns are public information.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leslie Wootten’s family has been involved with greyhounds since the 1800s. Author of over 75 articles published in national and regional magazines, she also wrote the book, Keefer: The Peoples Choice. She shares her life with 2 retired racing greyhounds in central Arizona. Reprinted by permission.
There has been much printed in the media about injuries to racing greyhounds. Here are some things to ponder and some actual faces.
Any athletic expression whether performed by humans or animals, is accompanied by an element of risk. Insurance companies which insure the huge contracts of professional athletes are compelled to know the statistical probabilities of an athletically induced injury occurring to an athlete, in order to set their rates and to make a profit.
While Grey2K has noted the various injuries sustained by Racing Greyhounds over the course of 7 years, they have not placed them in any sort of a context that might illuminate the statistical probabilities of injury occurring among Greyhounds when racing. Any insurance company would demand much more information—and so should the public.
The fact of the matter is that accidental injury is not the sole province of the Racing Greyhound. There is no injury sustained by a Racing Greyhound which does not occur day in and day out, among dogs in the general canine population, thousands of times over.
We know the number of injuries sustained by Greyhounds who raced in Massachusetts over a given period of time. We know how many races were run during that period of time, because we also know how many individual racing performances by individual Greyhounds that sample comprised (since there are 8 Greyhounds in each race)–we, therefore, know that the statistical probability of any injury occurring in any given greyhound race is less than 0.03%. We also know that the raw odds against any injury occurring in any one race, either a minor injury or career ending one, are roughly 999-1 against—whether it is an individual Greyhounds first race or his 200th. Those are the facts that Grey2K do not want you to know.
More food for thought. 60 to 85 pound dogs who can achieve speeds of well over 40mph and who can turn on a dime without losing significant velocity, certainly can injure themselves, sometimes seriously. Since we already have hard scientific proof that Greyhounds run as a matter of natural selection, and are driven to do so by 100,000 years of evolutionary demand, the first questions we need to ask ourselves are:
Should we perform a surgical procedure on all Greyhounds when they are puppies so that they cannot run and therefore can never injure themselves while running?
Are Racing Greyhounds, in their tightly controlled and state-regulated racing environs and racing on a specially formulated and groomed racing surface, at a greater risk of injury than they might be racing at the local dog park, coursing over rocky tree studded terrain, or running loose in the streets as many dogs in the general canine population do?
One thing we do know for certain is that Greyhounds need and love to run and compete. The cruelest blow would be to deny this breed the one expression and behavior that defines them, and which has made them unique and allowed them to survive in nature.
In an June 21, 2009 article in the Arizona Republic Grey2KUSA stated that in 2008 451 reported injuries at Phoenix Greyhound Park. 25 injured enough to require euthanasia. Grey2K claimed they came “directly off the injury report”. Therein lies a small but highly important omission, the groups injury report came from the injury reports and Veterinarians suspension report; which included ALL of the scratches at Phoenix Greyhound Park whether from being “lame”, “sick” or scratched by the judge.
When we enter into the debate of looking at the gross number of injuries standing on its own or looking at the number of injuries that occurred versus the number of times a dog ran without receiving an injury we need to look at the overall picture. Let’s look at the facts broken down from this injury report by Clifton Gray a former trainer at Phoenix Greyhound Park.
Official race cards:
January 2008: 31 (8 @ 16 races, 1@15 races, 22@ 13 races=429 races)
February 2008:29 (9@18 races, 4@ 15 races, 16@ 13 races=430 races)
March 2008: 31 (9@ 18 races, 4@ 15 races, 18@ 13 races=456 races)
April 2008: 30 (8@ 18 races, 4@ 15 races, 18@ 13 races= 438 races)
May 2008: 31 (10@ 18 races, 5@ 15 races, 16@ 13 races=463 races)
June 2008: 30 (8@ 18 races, 5@ 15 races, 17@ 13 races=440 races)
July 2008: 29 (1@9 races, 9@ 13 races, 5@ 15 races, 14@ 18 races=453 races)
August 2008: 26 (24@18 races, 1@ 16 races, 1@ 10 races=458 races)
September 2008: 26 (8@ 18 races, 18@ 16 races= 432 races)
October 2008: 27 (9@ 18 races, 18@ 16 races= 450 races)
November 2008: 24 (1@ 19 races, 8@ 18 races, 15 @ 16 races=403 races)
December 2008: 25 (8@ 18 races, 17@ 15 races=399 races)
Notes: rained out one full card in July, one rain-shortened card each in July and August, did not run Sundays from August through the end of the year, did not run Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, or Christmas Night, and one extra race on 11/1 due to the Night of Stars national broadcast.
Total number of official races in 2008: 5,251
8 dogs per race; number of dogs scheduled to run: 42, 008
Total number of scratches pre -race (from above): 131. (Judges: 8 ) (Veterinarian: 3 ) (Trainers’ scratches, “sick or no reason listed: 50 ) (Trainers’ scratches, “lame”: 70 )
Total number of dogs that ran an official race in 2008: 41,877.
Official schooling cards (Monday and Thursday, and included in injury reports):
January 2008: 8
February 2008: 9 (schooling scheduled for Thurs. 1/31 rescheduled for Fri. 2/1)
March 2008: 9
April 2008: 8
May 2008: 9
June 2008: 8 (schooling canceled on Mon. 6/9 for movie filming, not rescheduled)
July 2008: 9
August 2008: 8
September 2008: 9
October 2008: 9
November 2008: 8 (schooling scheduled for Thanksgiving, Thurs. 11/17 run on Fri. 11/28 instead)
December 2008: 9 (schooling scheduled for Christmas, Thurs. 12/25 run on Fri. 12/26 instead)
Total number of official schooling cards in 2008: 103
Average number of races on an official-schooling card: 8
Average number of dogs per official-schooling race, after scratches: 5
(Scratches are frequent from schooling and are not included on the suspension reports.)
Total number of dogs per average official-schooling card: 40
Total approximate number of dogs that ran an official-schooling race in 2008: 4,120
Unofficial schooling sessions (Mon., Tues., Fri, and included in injury reports):
January 2008: 6 (rained out on Tues. 1/1, Fri. 1/4, Mon. 1/7, Tues. 1/8, Fri. 1/18, Mon. 1/21, and Mon. 1/28.)
February 2008: 12 (rained out on Mon. 2/4)
March 2008: 13
April 2008: 13
May 2008: 12 (no session on Mon. 5/26 due to no lure operator showing up)
June 2008: 11 (no sessions on Mon. 6/9 and Tues. 6/10 due to movie filming at the track)
July 2008: 11 (rained out Fri. 7/11 and Mon. 7/14)
August 2008: 11 (rained out Fri. 8/8 and Fri. 8/29)
September 2008: 14
October 2008: 13
November 2008: 11 (no sessions Fri. 11/28 due to Thanksgiving the day before)
December 2008: 11 (no session Fri. 12/26 due to Christmas the day before, rained out 12/29)
Total number of unofficial-schooling sessions at PGP in 2008: 138
Average number of kennels participating per session: 6(kennels usually attend Mon.-Fri. or Tues.-Fri., not all three days).
Average number of races per kennel per session: 7
Average number of dogs per race: 2.5
Total number of dogs per average unofficial-schooling session: 105
Total approximate number of dogs that ran a race at an unofficial-schooling session in 2008: 14,490.
Total number of dogs that ran an official race: 41,877.
Approximate number of dogs that ran an official-schooling race in 2008: 4,120.
Approximate number of dogs that ran a race in an unofficial-schooling session: 14,490.
Total number of individual performances that were covered by PGP’s injury reports in 2008: 60,487.
Injuries reported: 316
Percentage of dogs injured expressed as a percentage of total number of performances: .52% (one-half of 1%).
Of that .52% (that’s a 1 in 200 chance of receiving ANY injury), the VAST MAJORITY of injuries listed in the report were general lameness, soreness, sprains, nicks and cuts, and other injuries remedied by a brief rest—in other words, injuries that could occur to any dog, anywhere, at any given time, and probably at about that rate, as well. Again, we are required to file a report for any type of injury, no matter how small or insignificant.