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Animal Racing Facts

Greyhound Racing

In the United States, betters wager billions of dollars on dog races every year. Only four states, California, Maine, Vermont, and Virginia, have banned greyhound racing. These state laws prohibiting racing are largely ineffectual, because federal law does not prohibit the interstate shipment of greyhounds used in racing. One state may ban the breeding of dogs used for racing, but dog handlers in another state can breed the same dogs and ship them across state lines.

The greyhound racing industry breeds approximately 50,000 puppies each year. Of these animals, only 15,000 actually become racing dogs. The rest are "retired," used as breeding stock, or, in a more likely scenario, shot and destroyed. The racing industry also sells thousands of dogs considered unfit for racing to laboratories, which experiment on animals. Thus, greyhound racing functions not only as a "sport" and gambling enterprise, but as a breeding facility for cruel vivisection practices.

Dogs that become racing animals do not live less cruel lives. Several thousand rabbits and other small animals die yearly during the training of greyhounds. Trainers use these small animals as live bait, exhorting greyhounds to chase the animals around a track in order to simulate race conditions. Trainers allow dogs to catch and destroy those bait animals that are no longer able to run effectively.

Dogs that have no propensity to kill are placed in cages at close quarters with rabbits. The trainers then deny the dogs food, starving them until hunger drives them to kill their caged companions. In this way, trainers awaken bloodlust in dogs that are non-violent by character.

A few states have outlawed the use of live animals in training. Trainers in these states sometimes employ a "jack-a-lure," a more humane training method. These electronically powered lures race around tracks, attracting the attention of greyhounds. Yet many trainers manage to circumvent state anti-cruelty laws. They ship dogs out of state for live animal training, then ship them back, a practice that is not prohibited by federal interstate commerce laws.

Greyhounds that actually become racers live life in small cages, usually no greater than three feet in diameter. Handlers remove them from their cages only rarely; to go to the bathroom, and for infrequent races during the course of a week.

Protest greyhound racing by: Refusing to patronize dog tracks and encouraging others to do the same. Writing letters to representatives in states where dog tracks exist. Educating the public about the greyhound racing industry's cruelty to animals.

For more information on greyhound racing, and what you can do to stop it, please visit: Greyhound Protection League

Horse Racing

Horse racing takes place throughout the United States. Individual state governments have their own racing commission agencies. Ostensibly, those commissions exist for the regulation of the racing industry. According to state law, however, the racing industry must share revenue with states, and racing commissions function as umbrella organizations for the racing industry rather than regulatory agencies. State governments become hesitant to prosecute racing or animal rights abuses, because they share in animal racing funds.

Around 800 racehorses die each year from fatal injuries suffered on US racetracks. An additional number of approximately 3,566 sustain injuries so bad that they cannot finish their races. Several breeding and horse handling abuses contribute to the great risk of death and injury that horses face.

Breeders often race horses as young as two. These horses lack fully developed bone structure, and are more likely to suffer injury.

Due to selective genetic pairing and breeding, many racehorses are born with fragile bodies to begin with. Selective breeding does not provide the gene pool with diverse enough genetic material to avoid genetic defects that arise largely as a result of inbreeding. Because jockeys race horses year round on hard tracks, which give less and are therefor harder on a horse's joints and bones, horses incur greater injury risk. Large corporate breeders race their "investments" too often in pursuit of profit.

To keep horses racing through pain, handlers administer Lasix and Bute. These pain relievers numb pain, but do not treat the injuries that cause pain. Consequently, these injuries get worse. Horses that suffer severe injuries as a result of drug induced racing get sold to slaughterhouses, a more profitable venture for breeders than euthanization. These horses suffer long cramped rides to the slaughterhouse without painkillers, in unfit trailers. Handlers also use Lasix to mask the presence of illegal substances such as steroids.

A horse that fails to win also faces death in a slaughterhouse, where operators sell the horse's flesh overseas for human consumption, or provide horsemeat to glue factories.

While horse racing is no longer legal in Belgium, it is a sanctioned event in many other places in the world. Work to end horse racing by: Refusing to patronize tracks and by encouraging others to do the same. Lobbying against the construction of new tracks. Educating the public about horse racing industry's cruelty to horses.

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