Thursday, November 06, 2008

Greyhound racing ban

Marshall Gramm sends along this election result, in which the voters of Massachusetts approved a dog racing ban on Tuesday. Dog racing will be phased out by 2010, not immediately, so as to allow the nearly 1,000 employees to find alternative employment. (That reminds me of Justin's hypocrisy arguments concerning economic sanctions-- countries will impose free trade restricting tariffs in the name of protecting domestic industries while also imposing economic sanctions on countries in which it does not politically agree (i.e. Cuba, North Korea, etc.) in order to harm their economy.) Of course, it's another example of legislating morality-- but if legislating morality can be viewed by the larger public as more acceptable as long as there's an amount of time to allow things to shake out for the worse, that's the damage of this bill.

The Humane Society has a short bit on the status of greyhound racing bans in other states, scroll down to #7. Seven states (prior to Massachusetts) have live greyhound racing bans: Idaho, Maine, North Carolina, Nevada, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. All of these passed in the 1990s.

Unintended consequence: What to do now with all of the greyhounds? Is this a case akin of sweatshop laborers in other countries-- perhaps the workers are not doing as well compared to American workers, but that's not the proper comparison to make. Amongst low income countries, sweatshop workers actually do pretty well for themselves. The dogs don't have acres to themselves and filet mignon nightly, but they weren't put down by the local pound either.


Thomas said...

Greyhounds tend to be "retired" after their prime racing age ends. Some are adopted by individuals (, others I presume are put down.

Matt E. Ryan said...

Add several thousand to that list now that racing is banned; unless there's a massive upward movement in adoptions, this is a death sentence for the dogs they are trying to save. I'm curious if the group that pushed this legislation has defended this position.

Though I do anticipate a movement to get them adopted, which should push up adoptions...I don't see it increasing on a scale needed to save them all, however.

Justin M Ross said...

Oftentimes I hear the argument from those activists that their life is no life at all. This is usually a rebuttal to the argument for using property rights to protect an endangered species. Thus, if the only animals that are alive are waiting to be eaten (or raced, in this case) they aren't truly alive at all. I imagine that is how they will justify what Matt has just pointed out about the increased death sentences.

Claudia R. Williamson said...

This is very disappointing because Boston use to be once of the tracks that had the big sweepstakes races. What I have read about the life of a racer is very similar to that of any other athlete. They train, eat, sleep. They are taken 'care' of because what benefit is there to abusing your dog?

I guess I don't understand the argument for a ban on racing. I love to watch greyhounds race. I think it is very beautiful and it would be a shame if this trend continues.

Greyhound adoption has increased tremendously in the past several years through the tracks themselves and private agencies. I always thought the problem with racing was that they were just put down after they retired. Now that isn't so much the case with the adoptions.

I guess I am going to have to adopt more now to do my part!