5 Things You Didn’t Know About Greyhound Racing

December 12, 2023


Commercial greyhound racing is nothing like meeting up with a friend at the park and having your dogs “race” and chase a ball or frisbee to see which pup gets it first. The truth about greyhound racing will shock you. Dogs in the industry are confined to dirty cages, become badly injured, are given illegal drugs, artificially inseminated, neglected, and horribly abused.

Commercial dog racing tracks exist in six countries and the United Kingdom. But greyhound racing happens in other places around the world. Dog racing occurs in 21 countries, although it may or may not have reached a commercial stage, and at least 31 countries conduct greyhound simulcasting where bettors can place wagers on racing dogs remotely. 

Commercial dog racing in the United States is illegal in 42 States, with two operational dog tracks remaining. Both of these tracks are in West Virginia. Seven other states have not yet made it illegal, but their dog tracks have closed. In Canada, you cannot legally bet on greyhound racing, but you can still race dogs. However, it takes only minutes to find Canadian betting websites allowing online transactions, partly because greyhound racing in Canada is unlegislated. But the country with the most greyhound racing abuse is Australia, with 64 operational tracks and a history of exploitation and animal cruelty.

Keep reading to learn how these loving, sensitive, loyal, and friendly animals should never be exploited for human entertainment and what you can do to put an end to greyhound racing forever.


1. Dogs Are Forced To Race At 18 Months Or Younger

According to websites that race greyhounds, dogs begin their initial training at 12 months when puppies. While still considered juvenile dogs, they begin racing between 15 – 18 months and continue for years. Between 30 to 36 months is considered “prime time” for dogs in the greyhound racing industry, while other dogs won’t make it out of “retirement” until age four or five. These young dogs should be free to play, walk, eat, and run when they choose to, not be confined to tiny cages. Unfortunately, confinement in dog racing is common, and dogs of all ages are often kept in kennels that are not inspected or regulated. GREY2K USA Worldwide, a non-profit organization working to pass stronger greyhound protection laws and end the cruelty of dog racing, reports that racing greyhound dogs endure lives of terrible confinement.

 “Dogs live in warehouse-style kennels, side by side, and in jurisdictions like the United States, in stacked metal cages. They are confined for long hours each day with bedding that consists of carpet remnants or shredded newspaper. In the United States, dogs are confined for 20 to 23 hours per day with intermittent turn outs and official races about once every four days.”

GREY2K also reports that a 2010 kennel inspection in Florida turned up dozens of dead greyhounds, all of which had been starved and abused.”



2. It Takes Between 500 And 1,000 Dogs To Operate A Racetrack

You need 500 to 1,000 dogs  to operate a commercial racetrack. GREY2K reports that greyhounds compete at several tracks during their lifetime.

National Greyhound Adoption Program explains; “Greyhound racing is first and foremost a business and the average racetrack needs 1000 dogs which are continually being replaced as the dogs grade-off due to injury, age or poor performance. Dog racing is a supply and demand business.”

Dogs are forced to race in extreme weather conditions and transported long distances to multiple racetracks in unregulated carriers. Many dogs die while shipped to other racetracks. GREY2K also reports that “commercial pesticides, such as Termidor, are used to control fleas and ticks” and “greyhounds have repeatedly died from illness outbreaks, including canine influenza.”

Thousands of dogs are injured at racetracks annually and many die, but the racing industry minimizes greyhound injuries by using misleading information. The sad reality is, “At least 1,045 racing greyhounds have died between 2010 and 2021.”

Greyhounds are also injured in unofficial schooling races and training activities and this is often not even reported.

3. Many Racing Greyhound Dogs Are Drugged

    Racing greyhound dogs have repeatedly tested positive for very serious drugs. Guilty parties routinely attempt to cover it up, despite dogs testing positive for drugs at racetracks around the world.

    “The Irish Greyhound Board has posted 200 greyhound drug positives since 2012 in the form of Control Committee Reports and Adverse Analytical Findings. These include cocaine, amphetamine, and pentobarbital positives.”

    “Since 2008 In the United States, GREY2K USA has documented over 600 violations in six racing states and several former racing states, including drug positive tests for cocaine, ractopamine, anabolic steroid methandienone, and industrial solvent dimethyl sulfoxide.”

    GREY2K explains the drugging of greyhounds has been an open secret in the dog racing world for years. Read their detailed report here.

    4. Female Racing Dogs Are Impregnated

    Greyhound dogs are bred for the racing industry while homeless dogs struggle to survive and dogs in shelters wait for homes. 

    GREY2K works to promote the rescue and adoption of greyhounds and explains that female dogs “are impregnated, many through artificial insemination by a veterinarian, and produce their litters on site. At a few months of age, puppies' right ears are tattooed with their birth date and order and an individual registration number is tattooed in the left ear. While at these breeding facilities, dogs are often kept outside, in large dirt pens with minimal shelter.”

    There are 300 greyhound breeding farms and kennels in the United States, according to the American Greyhound Council. There is evidence some greyhound puppies disappear from record and are never accounted for. 

    The Guardian reported that vets in Australia want to ban a painful and invasive greyhound breeding technique involving the removal of the dog’s uterus.

    “About 80% of racing greyhounds in NSW are bred using surgical artificial insemination. The Australian Veterinary Association has released a new policy declaring SAI “must not be performed in dogs”.

    “It involves general anesthesia of the animal, laparotomy [abdominal incision], exteriorisation of the uterus and transuterine wall introduction of (typically) frozen thawed semen into the uterine lumen,” it says. “The uterus is then replaced into the abdomen, and the surgical incision sewn up.”

    The RSPCA has already declared SAI as highly invasive, causes significant pain, and is ethically unacceptable.


    5. Greyhound Racing Is Abusive, Inhumane, And Supported By The Australian Government

      Animal Save Movement has a campaign to end subsidies and ban greyhound racing in Australia. We believe it’s about time the Australian government withdraws their support of this harmful industry. Horrific footage has been found showing abuse towards greyhound dogs in Australia, including live baiting, terrible neglect, severe animal cruelty, doping, and corruption investigations. Shocking drone footage reveals a person kicking, punching, throwing, dragging, and intimidating greyhounds. The heart-wrenching video taken by a brave whistleblower aired on Australian TV and was filmed over a two-and-a-half-week period in June 2023.

      Australia has been deemed the capital of greyhound suffering around the world. GREY2K reveals, “There are 64 greyhound tracks across six Australian states. There were 30,608 documented injuries and 3,864 deaths reported between 2020 and 2022.  

      Please sign the petitions below, share them on social media, contact legislators, and demand an end to greyhound racing.

      1. Animal Save Movement: https://www.drove.com/campaign/64b697ba3075056153adfc7c
      2. PETA: https://secure.peta.org.au/page/27715/action/1
      3. GREY2K: https://www.grey2kusa.org/actioncenter/index.php

      Written by Miriam Porter


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