Monday, March 17, 2014

Greyhound Racing! Motto: There Is No Australia

Every once in a while we here in the marbled halls of IM Central are privileged to read the story of how an overlord became an overlord. These stories usually involve some sort of epiphany--a kind of St Paul on the road to Damascus experience--or head injury. One or the other, or maybe both, we don't know. Anyway, the point is the tales tell how a seemingly normal person in possession of all of his or her faculties suddenly comes to the conclusion that the commodification and exploitation of innocent living creatures for profit is something that ought to be done by people who consider themselves...well...people. Take Amy Cochran for instance, her story is fairly typical.
Okay whoa. Hang on a second.  You're anti-racing. I get it, but you're so full of smoke I can't see the ground in front of me.  Being used by people? Suffering? Forced to race? Do you even know what you're talking about? Have you spent time with trainers, owner, operators etc?
 See, the problem here is that facts can be very bothersome, so if you're going to be an overlord the first thing you have to do is clean out your mental closet of everything you've ever read, or that people have told you, find some trainer somewhere that isn't overtly shipping dogs off to oblivion and decide that person represents the entire industry. Sort of like deciding a Malayan Blue Krait would make a good pet because the one you saw today didn't bite you.
I have never SEEN a greyhound suffer at the hands of their trainers. And I certainly have never SEEN a greyhound "forced" to race.
Umm...Amy? We have never SEEN Australia either, but we're pretty sure it's there because we've read about it, seen pictures and met people who claim they've gone. Although we do appreciate the caps because you kind of helped us make the point in step one.
The track crates, and yes they are crates, are nicely constructed and roomy. I can curl up in one of these crates and have room to spare. I’m no small woman either. I'm five foot nine and twice the weight of the average male greyhound. So trust me, if I'm comfortable in one of these crates...
Now that's very scientific of you Amy, and we are sure your desire to be "curled up" in a crate had nothing to do with the quart of Vodka you have to drink to get you through your day, (Not that we blame you. Coming to work every day to a job that institutionalizes cruelty and injures and kills hundreds healthy dogs each year has got to put a strain on the old conscience. Best to keep it heavily medicated)  but here's our question: Would you have been as "comfortable" if you'd had to stay "curled up" in that crate for 18 to 22 hours? OK, to be fair, since you're twice the weight of a male greyhound, let's try the experiment again. You go get "curled up"in the crate for 9 to 11 hours then go out for a quick jog around the track and back to being "curled up" in the crate. Let's do that for a week, what do you say? It's for science, Amy.
The truth is when you "train" a greyhound to chase, all you are doing is encouraging a natural instinct. You walk or give the greyhound a ride to the track, hold on to the dog’s collar, and when the fast moving, white, fuzzy toy goes flying by, you let them go. The greyhound will either chase it, or he won't. The dogs that do chase it go on to race. The dog that doesn't is placed for adoption. It really is that simple. There's no abuse there.
 Not to quibble Amy, but dumping unprofitable dogs and expecting people who suffer from congenital empathy to come along and pick up after you may not be abuse, but it's not the most altruistic thing you've ever done either, especially for those greyhounds who aren't lucky enough to find an adopter, and there are a lot of those, aren't there Amy?
Another farce, their diets. These dogs are athletes.  Their diets are designed to give them the nutrients their bodies demand.  There's nothing wrong with red meat, chicken, pasta, veggies, omega three, and vitamin supplements. Hell, that's what dog food is made of. It just doesn't come in kibble form. Why? Do a bit of research. When you cook food it loses its nutritional value, and these greyhounds, these athletes, need every ounce of nutrition to meet their body’s demands.
Well now that's true Amy. Of course if you were to cook the food you feed greyhounds you would also lose Salmonella spp, Campylobacter jejuni, and Escherichia coli, which can cause  diarrheal disease and death, but on the bright side, dogs who die in the kennel don't need to be adopted.
If you crate and work, how many times does your dog go out to relieve himself? How much exercise does he or she get? Track dogs are turned out 4 to 5 times a day to relieve themselves. They are exercised every day either in the sprint pen or on the track.  I guarantee you, these dogs are in better shape, physically, mentally, and emotionally, than your pet greyhound.
Hey Amy. You said you became an overlord because you had never SEEN abuse, but since you've never SEEN our greyhounds, how do you know what mental, physical or emotional state they're in? Just wondering.
Can you say you truly understand the dog’s needs, what it requires, and not what you think it requires?  Because, I'm here to tell you many people don't.  Your dog, greyhound or otherwise, doesn't operate on human rules or have human needs.  He is a dog, a greyhound, and his needs, wants and desires are very different from your own.
Huh. Thanks for clearing that up Amy. We didn't realize that a greyhound needs, wants and desires were to make you a profit. We thought they were dogs, you know, animals that like to "bark, prance, play bow, and wag their tails.  In short, they are goofs." Too bad you have to dump all those "goofs" when they no longer have the need, want or desire to make money for you isn't it?
"But what about euthanasia?"  Well, I hate to break it to you, dogs, cats, cattle etc. are not human. And despite your moral objections on the subject, euthanasia is --and always will be -- an appropriate medical treatment to end the pain and/or suffering of an animal.
Not to nit pick or anything Amy, but when a dog no longer makes money for you, it isn't the dog that is suffering, it's your bank account. Might want to think that through a little more.
If you’re going to end racing.  Fine.  Stand up and put your money where your mouth is.  HELP THE DOGS --the ones that you and your cause are putting in the line of fire -- instead of having someone else clean up the mess you've made.  You want to talk about and stop unnecessary euthanasia, then stop putting hundreds and thousands of dogs at risk.
 Yeah, uh Amy? About that whole "mess" thing. Maybe rampant over-breeding, leading to dumping non-winning dogs faster and faster as you scramble to get a smaller and smaller piece of an ever shrinking money pie is contributing to the problem. Perhaps if you want to yell at someone who is putting dogs in the line of fire, you should check out your mirror. Just a suggestion.

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