Federal Bill Would End Greyhound Racing in America

Posted on: July 30, 2020, 08:22h. 

Last updated on: July 30, 2020, 10:47h.

Greyhound racing may be on its last legs in the US, but a federal bill introduced Wednesday by two Democratic lawmakers would kill it off entirely.

Greyhound racing in the US
US Rep. Tony Cárdenas’ calls for a “sensible wind down” of an “already declining” greyhound racing industry. (Image: Instagram)

The text of US Reps. Tony Cárdenas’ (Calif.) and Steve Cohen’s, (Tenn.) Greyhound Protection Act (H.R. 7826) has not yet been published. But the bill would amend the Wire Act to “clarify that gambling on commercial greyhound racing and field coursing using wire communication technology is prohibited.”

The Wire Act of 1961 prohibits the use of telecommunications for betting across state lines. Dogs bred for the greyhound racing industry are transported across state lines for racing, and meanwhile, races are broadcast to numerous states for simulcast gambling.

Greyhound racing is cruel and must end,” Cárdenas said in an official statement. “These docile animals are kept in stacked cages for 20 hours or more a day and are subjected to brutal training practices and races, facing the risk of injury and death at every turn.

“My bill allows for a sensible wind down of an already-declining industry that will ultimately outlaw greyhound racing,” Cárdenas added. “As a longtime animal welfare advocate, I am committed to always speaking up for the voiceless.”

Live-Lure Training Exposed

The bill comes just days after an investigation by greyhound protection NPO Grey2K found evidence of live-lure practices at three dog-training farms in Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas. Live-lure training involves dogs being baited with live animals, which are then mauled to death in order to enhance the dogs’ “chase instinct.”

The practice is banned by the greyhound racing industry and is illegal in most states. It may also be illegal under the federal Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (2019). But H.R. 7826 would make live-lure training specifically illegal.

Greyhound racing will soon end in the United States, and this bill allows for a managed phase-out of the activity to enable planning to provide homes for the dogs and certainty for the owners, workers, and breeders in the industry,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action, in a statement.

“Greyhound racing is dying, and it’s best to manage the shutdown of the industry to allow for a soft landing for the people and the animals involved,” he added.

Dog Days of Racing

Greyhound racing’s days have been numbered since residents of Florida — which was formerly the epicenter of the sport in the US — voted in November 2018 to phase it out by the end of this year.

At the time of the vote, Florida was home to 11 of the 17 tracks in the country that offered live greyhound racing. Of those, just four intend to continue offering live races up until the end of the year, when the ban comes into effect.

When Florida goes, only four tracks will remain nationwide — two in West Virginia, one in Arkansas, and one in Iowa. The Arkansas track, Southland, has pledged to discontinue racing in 2022.

Last month, the last track in Texas, Gulf Greyhound Park, closed its doors, citing declining public interest in the sport.

A legislative push to defund greyhound racing in West Virginia earlier this year was approved by the state House, but came unstuck in the Senate.