Greyhound Racing

Greyhound racing is popular all over the world. Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States have many greyhound racing tracks. Greyhound racing is also popular in Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Macau (China), Mexico, South Africa, Pakistan and Vietnam.


Greyhound Racing Frequently Asked Questions

How are Greyhounds trained to race?
Greyhounds begin training at about a year old. They run and chase by instinct, so initially their training consists of chasing a lure dragged along the ground. As they mature, they are taught to run on circular tracks, with the artificial lure suspended above the ground. At about a year and a half, they graduate to longer, oval tracks, starting boxes and competition.

How old are Greyhounds when they begin racing?
Most begin racing at about a year and a half, and continue to four years old. Some will race beyond their fifth birthday, and a select few past their sixth. Because they are generally well cared for and in excellent health, most Greyhounds live to twelve years or older.

Does racing come naturally to Greyhounds?
Greyhounds love to run, and are competitive by instinct. In racing, there is no stimulus other than the mechanical lure to make the Greyhounds run. When the starting box opens, the animal's natural instinct is to chase the lure and try to reach it first.

Is racing safe for Greyhounds?
The prevention of injuries is a high priority in Greyhound racing. The industry has funded extensive research at leading veterinary universities to find ways of ensuring animal safety and preventing racing injuries. If an injury does occur, every track has a veterinarian on the premises to respond immediately.

Does the greyhound racing industry use live lures?
No, the industry has banned the use of live lures in training and racing. In all states, state laws and/or racing rules prohibit the use of live lures in training or racing. Industry members who violate this practice may be expelled from the sport for life.

Where are Greyhounds kept when they are not racing?
Greyhounds live in climate-controlled kennels, usually on or near the tracks where they race. They are turned out several times daily for mild exercise and play, exercised on sprint paths and taken for walks.

What happens to Greyhounds after they retire?
About 90 percent of registered Greyhounds are adopted or returned to the farm as pets or for breeding purposes when they retire. Those that are unsuitable for adoption or breeding programs are humanely euthanized by licensed veterinarians. To reduce the need for these measures, the industry has committed to reducing breeding and expanding adoption efforts until 100 percent of all adoptable Greyhounds can be placed in loving homes after retirement.

How do you justify breeding so many greyhounds each year when you know that thousands will have to be euthanized because they aren't fast enough to be successful competitors?
Even if every greyhound were adopted after retirement, the animal rights movement would still oppose greyhound racing, because they oppose all animal use, no matter how humane or beneficial to society. If your concern is animal welfare, the industry is taking aggressive action on several fronts. Our goal is to reach a point where every healthy greyhound has a home to go to after retirement. We've dramatically reduced the number of dogs bred, and substantially increased the number of dogs adopted. In 1997, for example, we expect to breed fewer than 30,000 dogs, and adopt out more than 18,000. Thousands more will go back to the farm as breeding stock after their careers end. If animal rights groups really want to do something in the area of animal welfare, they should work constructively with the industry to maximize adoptions and secure a good home for every greyhound.

Aren't greyhounds frequently injured while racing?
The safety of racing greyhounds is a top priority in the industry. Each track has a veterinarian on he premises to ensure that the dogs remain in good health. In addition, the industry has funded extensive research into the methods of ensuring track safety. This research is on-going at the University of Florida's Center for Veterinary Sports Medicine.

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