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The View: Greyhound’s welfare
As the world watches, Macau is at a crossroads and can begin taking the correct path by discontinuing cruelty to greyhounds.
Every major animal protection organization in the United States and abroad is opposed to greyhound racing and believes it is cruel and inhumane. While dog racing proponents describe a well-regulated industry, the facts prove otherwise.
It is inherently cruel for the greyhounds endure abysmal confinement in cages day in and day out. It is equally cruel to lead them out to race, knowing they face the risk of injury and death. Countries that report on racing injuries describe greyhounds suffering broken limbs, broken necks, paralysis and more. Greyhounds have literally died at the finish line from cardiac arrest.
As the guest column on greyhound post-racing welfare – sent to Macau Daily Times by Ms. Caryn Wood – was yesterday being prepared to be published on our paper’s ‘The View”, an online petition calling for an end to greyhound racing in Macau has gathered more than 5,000 signatures, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported yesterday.
Launched after a Sunday Morning Post investigation published in June found that 383 healthy greyhounds were put to death at the Canidrome last year, the online petition came, according to the Hong Kong daily, after a letter signed by 24 animal-welfare groups in China was sent to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard calling for an immediate halt to the export of greyhounds to Macau.
The subject of greyhound welfare was covered by the MDTimes in “Greyhound euthanasia sparks debate: Born to race” – an extensive article published on Friday, 8 July 2011.
Considered short-term investments, overbred so there is always another greyhound to use as a replacement, the greyhounds are valued only as long as they generate a profit. Greyhounds’ post-racing welfare falls entirely to volunteer adoption groups that work to place greyhounds in loving homes around the world.
The situation in Macau is far worse, however. There is no way out for the Canidrome greyhounds, as they cannot be adopted and cannot leave Macau.
Out of touch with 21st century mores, Macau lacks licensed veterinarians and lacks current animal welfare laws, instead relying on statutes dating back to the 19th century. The result is that the unfortunate pawns in this scenario, the Canidrome greyhounds, face a bleak prospect and are routinely killed. Rather than enacting new animal welfare legislation, which has been pending since 2008, the government turns a blind eye to the greyhounds.
Although the Anima Macau Society for the Protection of Animals works tirelessly for greyhound welfare, it is constrained by the antiquated and inhumane system that deems ex-racing greyhounds inconsequential and disposable. Nearly 400 Canidrome greyhounds were killed last year, and more than one greyhound per day continues to be killed.
While Macau is known as the Las Vegas of the East, it should be remembered that greyhound racing ended there in 1982 after only two seasons, and the State of Nevada legislatively banned greyhound racing in 1997. Since 2001, twenty-six dog tracks in the United States have either closed or have ended live racing. The public’s increased awareness of the cruelty of greyhound racing has had a significant negative impact on racing revenues. In the last two decades, commercial dog racing has experienced a steady, catastrophic decline, and now represents less than 1% of all wagers made each year in the United States.
GREY2K USA is the largest greyhound protection organization in the U.S. We have ended dog racing in Massachusetts through the ballot initiative process, and our legislative bills to prohibit dog racing passed in Rhode Island and New Hampshire. We have presented and passed legislation to restore greyhounds to anti-cruelty laws in New Hampshire and Florida. In 2009, we helped draft the bill that illegalized dog racing in Guam.
GREY2K USA applauds and supports lawmaker José Pereira Coutinho for voicing his concerns about the lack of current animal welfare laws and the resulting impact on the greyhounds. We join the public outcry by animal welfare groups and citizens, and we call on those who care about animals to stand up for these dogs.
We urge lawmakers and government officials to do the right thing and give Macau’s greyhounds the chance at a new life they deserve.
‘The View’, is a new space for a column, commentary or noted occurrence in the city that should be highlighted. Besides journalists or contributors from our own newsroom, it will feature contributions from identified readers willing to send us their views, positive, negative or neutral, regarding this city (Texts shall not exceed 500 words)
Responsible Right of Expression — In the interest of freedom of expression, coupled with a true sense of responsibility to encourage community dialogue, the Macau Daily Times offers its readers the opportunity to express their opinions on news-related matters through this website. All opinions are welcome. However, we reserve the right to remove comments that are deemed to be obscene, or are merely insults written under the cloak of anonymity. MDT
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