Greyhounds are one of the most highly respected dog breeds in the world. These dogs were commonly kept in the palaces and castles of royalty and they were often used as hunting dogs for wealthy people. In some cultures, the greyhound was regarded as a sign of good fortune. In modern times, greyhounds are often associated with racing tracks and gambling. There are some organizations who speak out against using the greyhound for this purpose. The following material will explain why greyhounds are used for racing and whether this sport is a moral form of recreation.
Why are greyhounds used for racing?
Greyhound racing is a sport and it has been used to entertain people for nearly 100 years. This sport evolved over the centuries from English hunters who watched their greyhound dogs as they chased game. Eventually, a few of them started to wager who had the fastest dog. This concept was eventually put into action to create the first greyhound racing track in 1876.
Keep in mind that the dogs are fast and they have a natural instinct for running. They average a speed of 43 miles per hour. These dogs are the second fastest land animal next to the cheetah. This is the primary reason why the greyhound is highly prized for racing and trained as hunting dogs. They can easily track down and capture game.
In 1876 a few wealthy men tried to race the dogs on a strait track that was made beside a reservoir known as Welsh Harp. This first attempt to race dogs proved unsuccessful and it was not until 1912 that the modern form of the greyhound racing trek was invented.
Owen Patrick Smith is credited with the invention of the mechanical hare and for designing oval or circular tracks. Smith realized that the dogs would perform better by chasing after a mechanical hare. The circular and oval tracks would best be suited for the dogs. Smith opened the first professional dog-racing track in 1919. He set up this track in Emeryville, California.
Smith wanted betting to be a part of the experience at the tracks. So he had to set up a parimuteul betting system for this sport. He received the certification for legal betting but this aspect of dog betting is what gave the business a bad reputation.
Is greyhound racing a moral sport?
Once again greyhound racing was fused with gambling and this led to some confusion about the nature of the tracks. The problem with betting is that people had to go through bookies to make their wagers. Most bookies in those days had ties to the mob. Mobsters used those connections to infiltrate (and even control or fix) dog races. This is how dog racing tracks developed a bad reputation.
Even though greyhound tracks have been viewed in a negative manner, many people during the early 1930s, 40s and 50s attended the tracks. They were extremely popular with middle class working men who would go the tracks to unwind after work and to socialize. The tracks provided recreation and a way for people to make some extra cash from betting.
Throughout the years many conservative and religious organizations spoke out strongly against greyhound racing tracks. They did not like these places because of the people that frequented these venues. Modern tracks have been reformed and they include legalized gambling, a regulatory structure system and the physical presence of racetracks. Track owners might have to pay fees to the state and/or to host cities for having a track. There are racing codes and regulations for training, housing, racing and caring for dogs. Greyhound dog owners who race their animals are usually required to be a part of a greyhound racing federation or trade association.
Greyhound racing tracks have been taking criticism throughout the years from animal protection agencies and organizations. Apparently many of the dogs were not being treated well in the past and in modern times. As a result, a lot of organizations and community and state agencies have been closing down greyhound tracks.
Over the years there has been concern about the dogs being cruelly treated, issues with the use of live-baiting and the industry’s inability to self-regulate itself. As a matter of fact, some tracks train their dogs with live bait and this is a practice that has been exposed to the displeasure of many animal rights activists. Many of the dogs were put to sleep after they were used for racing and the tracks themselves, are no longer viable sources of income.
Currently, there is a system in place which allows most greyhound dogs to be adopted or given away. The only reason why some of the dogs are still put to sleep has to do with expense. Most owners and tracks cannot afford to care for the dogs over a long period of time after their racing days are over.
As of 2016 Greyhound racing is no longer a viable sport as a whole. There are some successful tracks but they still suffer from economic loss. The bottom line is that greyhound racing still remains strong enough to remain as a form of legalized gambling but it is not a big money maker for the state or local communities.
Added to this problem is the issues surrounding the treatment of its animals. There are too many questionable practices that must be addressed within this industry to make it a respectable operation within a local community. This form of gambling and sport is not necessarily a bad form of entertainment; but people usually find better ways to spend their time and money.