All Bets Off

By on January 18, 2008 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

We are in the thick of the presidential primaries, and no candidate has a lock on his or her party’s nomination. These next three weeks are likely to be decisive in the selection of the major party nominees, with more than 20 states conducting primaries on Feb. 5—so-called Super Tuesday. Elections for local, state, and federal officeholders have major implications for animals, and I urge all HSUS members and other animal advocates to register to vote to make your voice heard.

There are also ballot initiatives or referendums that will appear in many states, and a few of them center on the treatment of animals. California may have a sweeping farm animal measure on the ballot in November, Massachusetts voters may have the opportunity to ban greyhound racing, Alaska citizens may vote for the third time to stop aerial shooting of wolves, and North Dakotans may decide a question on banning canned hunts.

Brindle greyhound's face

© iStockphoto

But the first measure to be considered in 2008 is Question 3 on the Miami-Dade County (Florida) ballot on Jan. 29. Question 3 is an attempt by wealthy greyhound track owners to prop up their cruel industry by installing Las Vegas-style slot machines at their tracks. The HSUS urges all registered voters in Miami-Dade County to vote "no" on this measure. If you know people in Miami-Dade, I urge you to forward them this blog.

Greyhound racing is a fading industry, but it still causes harm to dogs. The only long-term survival strategy for this industry is to introduce Las Vegas-style gambling practices at the tracks to generate revenue from slots. And that’s precisely what Question 3 will allow. Under Florida law, in order to have other forms of gambling at tracks, you must have live racing. This means that dogs continue to run, even though that aspect of the business is not all that profitable.

Records shows that dogs suffer serious injuries, especially broken bones, while racing, and deaths are known to occur. They are treated like racing machines. What’s more, the dogs at the track endure almost constant confinement when not racing. And when they don’t perform well, they are discarded, killed by track henchman or put up for adoption to compete with humane societies and rescue groups already overburdened with their awesome adoption responsibilities.

There are 34 states that do not allow greyhound racing, and it is no point of pride for Florida to be home to one half of the nation’s 38 dog racing tracks. (If you live in one of the states that operate greyhound racing tracks or in a state that has not yet banned the sport, contact your elected officials and express your opposition.)

Voters in Miami-Dade already rejected the profit-schemes of wealthy track owners once before, defeating it by a 53-47 vote in 2005. They should do so again.


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