Grey2K USA activists have created a distorted picture of greyhound racing at Gulf Greyhound Park, as well as other tracks across the country. This is intentional.

These activists have a radical agenda that has far more to do with politics and fundraising than with animal welfare.

The Grey2K report on greyhound injuries was a collection of statistics that are easy to misrepresent if that’s the intention. For example, the report failed to explain that between 2009 and 2012, injuries occurred in fewer than one-tenth of one percent of all racing starts. Grey2K also distorted the seriousness of these injuries. The vast majority were minor, permitting the greyhounds to return to racing after treatment. Even in cases where injuries prevented a return to racing, the greyhounds transitioned successfully to life in adoptive homes.

On rare occasions, the most serious injuries require that a greyhound be euthanized. “Rare” is the operative word here. From 2008-11, this occurred in fewer than four-thousandths of one percent of all racing starts.

Gulf Greyhound Park has taken aggressive steps to prevent performance injuries to greyhounds. In 2011, we retained Dr. Robert L. Gillette, director of the Animal Health and Performance Program at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University, to evaluate our track surface and procedures to ensure that we were providing the safest possible track. Gillette recommended some changes in track surfacing procedures, and his recommendations were implemented.

As a result, our excellent record on injury prevention has improved even further. In 2012, injuries were down approximately 10 percent from 2011, and so far in 2013, injuries are down a whopping 44 percent from the same period in 2012.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense should recognize that preventing injuries and providing the best possible care for greyhounds is not only the right thing to do, but it’s good business. Contrary to ridiculous animal rights claims, there is no benefit to be gained from failing in our obligation to provide humane care and treatment. That’s because racing greyhounds must be well cared for to perform at their best.

Industry regulations require that greyhounds be housed in comfortable crates large enough to permit them to stand, sit, lie down and turn around comfortably. Anything less would cause stiff and sore muscles, making it much more difficult for the dogs to compete.

Similarly, greyhounds must be turned out for exercise four to five times daily to ensure that they remain in top condition. When they’re not racing or exercising, they prefer to rest, which is why adoptive greyhound owners often refer to their retired racers as “40 mile an hour couch potatoes.” Exercise and rest are both essential for healthy racers.

Good nutrition is another key to the health of racing greyhounds. The meat they consume is the same found in most commercial pet foods — the same diet most of our pets enjoy. If this product weren’t healthy and nutritious for greyhounds, it would be impossible for these canine athletes to perform as they do.

Grey2K and other animal rights groups benefit financially when the public is deceived about greyhound racing. Good animal care doesn’t generate donations. That’s why these organizations distort the facts.

Gulf Greyhound Park takes its responsibility for responsible greyhound care very seriously. Regardless of the outcome of the debate about expanding gambling in Texas, we will continue to do our very best to ensure the health, welfare and safety of our racing greyhounds.

Guest column

Sally Briggs is general manager of Gulf Greyhound Park.

(1) comment

Gary Miller

The oppponents of anything always distort the facts to create a fund raising issue to finance their opposition.
The only defense of supporters is truth.
No thinking person would believe abusing dogs by owners or the industry would be tollerated.
Healthy, well cared for, dogs are required for success.

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