Anyone who has ever spent any time around Racing Greyhounds with their eyes, heart and mind wide open, knows that there is something very special about them. There is no other breed of canine with which to compare them, even though there are quite a few breeds of dogs that have descended from them. There is a nebulous quality about them that sets the Racing Greyhound apart from other canines, and it is as ancient as starlight and as striking as a flaming meteor.
Because of the ongoing unraveling of the canine genome, we now know that Greyhound DNA is one of the several foundational strands of all modern dogs. Scientists and researchers feel that the halotypes of our contemporary Racing Greyhounds probably first emerged as part of a branching-off process from the Grey Wolf, which began perhaps as many as 140,000 years ago. This is a staggering proposition. What it essentially means is that Greyhound-like dogs evolved naturally, until they eventually became companions of men. Since the Greyhound has always had a utilitarian purpose, either as a pre-historic, wild and deadly hunter of game, as a swift and efficient courser of vermin, or as a racer of astonishing speed and athleticism, he is unique among canines.
As respected Greyhound pedigree researcher and writer Martin Roper has suggested (in his essay, Everything You Know Is Wrong), it is highly unlikely that the Greyhound was ever domesticated by Egyptian Pharaohs, as had been long thought to be the case. The DNA evidence from Greyhounds and the various African sighthounds just does not seem to support that romantic notion. The Greyhound, as John Henry Walsh (aka, “Stonehenge”, a 19th century breed expert and chronicler) had offered, and which Roper has seconded, was most likely domesticated and brought to British Isles by the Celts.
Today, as science peels away the ancient layers of mystery that shrouded the origins of the Greyhound in antiquity, for our appraisal, we are faced with the double-whammy of having to counteract the deliberate falsification of the current “state of the breed” by animal rights/anti-racing propagandists. So while on one hand we have gained a much deeper and more accurate understanding of how our Greyhounds have come to be who they are today, on the other hand, we see a new litany of outrageous dis-information being disseminated throughout all forms of media. This popular, contemporary Greyhound mythology has arisen from a cartel comprised of “four-legs-good, two-legs-bad” academia, animal rights activist extremists, donation-seeking lobbyists and propagandists, and a daisy chain of activist-“journalists”.
This new mythology is rooted in an elitist, “New Age” dogma, which preaches that the use of any animal for any human purpose whatsoever is “speciesism”, and is, by definition, oppressive, imperialist and “colonial” in its nature and practice, and therefore must be prohibited.
A culture comprised of the mostly non-university educated, rural, agrarian, working-class, which views the keeping of animals not simply as an end unto itself, but as the means to an end, is therefore deemed intrinsically and systemically cruel, inhumane, barbaric, inferior and outmoded. That would be “outmoded”, as in “doesn’t deserve to exist”… as in “greyhound racing professionals”. This is the case, we have learned, no matter what considerations are made for the welfare of the animals. Even as an estimated 200,000 retired Racing Greyhound adoptees happily live out their lives as personal and family pets. Make no mistake about it, this adoption phenomenon is most certainly not a scenario that could ever have come to pass if it involved a population of systemically brutalized, abused, neglected or otherwise mishandled or mismanaged canines. Period.
We won’t belabor the preposterous concept of “speciesism”, since the essence of Darwinism and the nature of all species is to compete ruthlessly and without remorse for domain, habitat, food–and in the Darwinian model, often to the complete annihilation or extinction of less well-adapted species. Something as silly as “speciesism” could only have emerged from academia that is virtually detached from (or oblivious to) large colonies or populations of animals, or any animal society–or the fossil record. It is an academia who apparently can’t or won’t differentiate between what is human and what is not.
Nor should we give any credence to the oxymoron of “animal rights”. Proponents of animal rights wish to co-mingle amoral creatures within the realm of uniquely human, intricately-reasoned, moral constructs like rights. The first person who can successfully plead the case of Salmon’s Rights to a hungry Grizzly Bear will be the first person who can speak credibly to such a ludicrous concept.
The reality is that “sentience” is not the operative factor as to why men alone have evolved rights-based societies. Rights are the result of complex human reasoning capabilities, and rights-based societies are not the default-state of affairs among populations of merely sentient beings, as animal rights ideology professes. That is why no animal population has ever evolved a “rule of law”, aside from what nature has dictated must be so, as a matter of evolutionary demand and of adaptations expressed by an organism to ensure its survival. Animals survive primarily by instinctive reactions to stimuli and by the exertion or avoidance of pure, brute force. There is no right or wrong, no morality or immorality to any of it as far as they are concerned.
Rights are moral constructs that entitle human beings to take an action in their own, rational self-interest, without being subjected to brute force exerted against them. Rights, ironically, are what protect vicious propagandists from brutal, animal-like retaliation, as in the case of the disenfranchised families of Massachusetts’ greyhound racing community, who were uprooted or displaced by a decade long campaign of deceit and dis-information. The propaganda and misrepresentation of anti-racing activists, for all intents and purposes, turned what were one day meticulously, state-regulated jobs into a criminal activity the next day.
Prohibitions are constraints of legislation enacted to prevent humans from taking certain actions. Animal rights activists cannot rationally or legally endow animals with rights, because rights are antithetical to animal nature, and conceptually, they are far beyond the reasoning capacities of animals anyway. So they must invent prohibitions that stop or preclude men from having certain interactions with animals, and call it animal rights. These so-called “animal rights”, moreover, demand that a state of “apartheid” exist between men and animals. In its purest form, fully realized, animal rights would, as a matter of necessity, entail the extinction of all domestic animals, including pet and food crop animals. Animal ownership, after all, is akin to slavery, according to animal rights dogma.
Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, a powerful and well-funded animal rights lobbying concern, recently had this to say in a Daily Racing Form interview (2/23/12), concerning the hugely successful phenomenon of retired Racing Greyhounds re-habituated as adopted pets:
“Now I’ve met a lot of folks in the greyhound industry, and they talk to us about them being humane, but they are churning out a lot of dogs and putting them out into the world for other people to handle. That’s an issue for us.”
So the CEO of the HSUS has “an issue” with retired Greyhounds as adopted pets. Is anyone surprised? They shouldn’t be. In 1993, Pacelle told Animal People News:
“We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.”
It should be noted that the most media-active and infamous anti-greyhound racing lobbying group, Grey2k, essentially acts as a subsidiary of the HSUS, having received hundreds of thousands in support from them, and both are part of a powerful, well-funded national network of animal rights political activist organizations.
In our country today, we hear a lot of talk about multi-culturalism, and the desirability of aspiring to and embracing a multi-cultural society. We are told to remember that we are a nation of immigrants, and that our diversity in culture and thought is our greatest strength. This open-mindedness seems to hit the proverbial brick wall when it concerns the anti-racing, animal rights culture expressing profound, diabolical contempt and intolerance of the culture that has emerged around the lawful and state regulated breeding and racing of Greyhounds. In that case, as portrayed by the media, there is a superior “culture of modern enlightenment” waging a just and necessary war upon an inferior “culture of outmoded primitivism”, and the righteous ends of this war justify the use of any and all means to win it.
The relentless assault waged against greyhound racing and those who participate in it is a cultural war. The inflammatory rhetoric and talking points of the anti-racing propagandist are designed to prejudice public opinion against not only greyhound racing, but against the people who are employed by it. It doesn’t seem to matter that none of these antagonists have any practical experience as Greyhound racing professionals in any capacity. Most of them have never even been to a professional racing kennel or breeding facility, nor have they ever seen a greyhound race in person. Whatever accusations they make, no matter how sensational, irrational or ignorant, are usually reported by media as the “truth”, without any attempt at investigation, balance, or even, heaven forbid, journalism.
Just a brief sampling, below, of comments made on internet discussion venues by anti-racing activists and/or their sycophants (some of them by members or officers of “charities”). These comments and others like them, appeared on assorted blogs or in the “comments” sections of various Greyhound related articles, directed at greyhound racing professionals or their supporters. They would seem to demonstrate that there is something more at play here than just wholesome activism or animal welfare:
“With so many people joining in to help end the abusive racing industry, many of these greyhound exploiters will be looking for jobs. Too bad many of them can’t read or write beyond a second grade level. From the looks of their posts, I guess you don’t need much of a brain to lock a dog in a cage for 23 hours a day.”
“Sombra, feel free to emigrate. Since this is the United States, you have that right.”
“Hey all you Greyhound racing, hormone-raging females belonging to the “human race”…
“…what do you women do on a date?”
“…these no class, greedy, lying and thieving members of the greyhound racing “Industry”…”
“Is it any wonder this “business” breeds criminals.”
“Well, if you put how many Irish are in on the take of Greyhound Racing, like the Carneys and the Whiteleys and the list is utterly endless…”
“Well there are a lot of different nationalities in Greyhound Racing but by far, what I see, the most seem to be Irish and Italian.” “being Sunday, all the Italians must be at Mass (or not) and all the Irish are still out drinking. (or passed out)”
‘When the “white man” takes decades to see that this “dog industry” is doomed since the revelation of all its cruelty, what did you expect?’
“Truly, you “white people” in Greyhound racing are either brain dead, cannot read, or are definitely over 60 and need a jolt of blood transfusion.”
“Dr. Joe Robinson like most of the veterinarians in Greyhound Racing, is a complete and utter joke. He can barely speak english so how was he supposed to read…”
“Never cost a penny for a bullet. The cheapest way for all these racetrack people…”
“Let another track close because no one comes to watch greyhounds risk life and limb so the overlords can make the trailer payment …”
“Middle class educated white people don’t go to bet on the dogs. That is Skechers or the TGPs wet dream.”
That last little pearl of wisdom was offered up by no less than a Board Member of Grey2k, in the aftermath of Grey2k’s failed campaign to censor a Skecher’s Super Bowl commercial, which portrayed greyhounds racing a French Bulldog. To my knowledge, as of this writing, Grey2k’s spokespersons have yet to explain or disown the remark, which in any event, speaks for itself. Does it speak for you? Do any of these remarks? If this is what is put out there for public consumption, what do we suppose is said and done behind closed doors? Are these the sentiments of the sort of people you would trust to tell you the truth about anything? Are these the sentiments of the sort of people you would choose to follow?
The fate of the ancient, beloved Greyhound breed literally hangs in the balance while you consider your answer.
Note: A special thanks to Dick Ciampa, Martin Roper and Brian Witt for their contributions.