Congressmen from California and Tennessee have introduced legislation to phase out greyhound racing nationwide in response to media reports earlier this week that investigators for an advocacy group had documented evidence that breeders in several states, including Texas, used a brutal, illegal method to train greyhounds to race.
The bill, filed by U.S. Reps. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., would amend the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, which governs betting businesses, to end greyhound racing and live-lure training, officials said.
“Greyhound racing is cruel and must end,” Cardenas said. “These docile animals are kept in stacked cages for 20 hours or more a day and are subjected to brutal training practices and races, facing the risk of injury and death at every turn.
“My bill allows for a sensible wind-down of an already declining industry that will ultimately outlaw greyhound racing. As a longtime animal welfare advocate, I am committed to always speaking up for the voiceless.”
Cardenas in a news release cited the results of the recent investigation into live-lure training as a reason for the legislation.
Leaders at GREY2K USA Worldwide, a Massachusetts-based lobbying group, have turned over videos and a written complaint to Texas law enforcement asserting an Elgin-based farm used live-lure training to prepare greyhounds for racing, said Carey Theil, executive director of the group.
The Daily News, which first reported on the investigation Tuesday, is not naming the farm because no one has been criminally charged in connection with the allegations.
Live-lure training is the practice of using small animals, such as rabbits, to train greyhounds to follow a lure during a race. Greyhounds will chase the rabbit and tear it apart.
At least 12 of the Elgin-trained dogs raced at Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque, Theil said.
Videos of the training in Texas were captured on June 30 and July 2, officials said. They show dogs apparently chasing after rabbits and attacking them.
Investigators have determined 151 dogs have been raised on the farm since 2017, officials said. Of those, about 87 are owned by people in Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Texas and West Virginia.
Twenty-two greyhounds are actively racing at dog tracks across the country, officials said.
After nearly 30 years, the dog racing track at Gulf Greyhound Park in June shut down operations for good, officials with the organization announced at the time, citing a decline in interest.
The park’s announcement came amid a general decline in greyhound racing nationally.
Officials with GREY2K USA Worldwide also submitted complaints and video of similar investigations in Oklahoma and Kansas, records show.