Joseph W McFarland Jr | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art

Joseph W McFarland Jr 
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Re: “Greyhounds put in harm's way so racino can prosper

I have been attending greyhound racing programs for about 7 years. I was introduced to the sport in West Palm Beach after moving there from West Viriginia (where Greyhound racing is still legal). I regularly play Southland via simulcast. It is my favorite track. I am a 49 year old white, professional male who spends weekends & spare time at the track primarily because of greyhound racing. The dogs are tremendous athletes. Like any athlete, they suffer injuries while racing. This is inevitable. They run at great speeds such that there slender and sleek physiques make them vulnerable to injuries. I have seen only one on track death, which resulted when the greyhound caught the lure and was electrocuted. I have only witnessed a handful of injuries where a dog was carried off by a handler. After having witnessed an estimated 35,000 races in seven years, I think this number is quite small. Based on my observation, racing dogs do not routinely suffer serious injuries. It happens occasionally. They do suffer sprains and strains, and when the trainers discover the injuries, which often aren't apparent for several races ( a dog cannot tell you his hamstring hurts) they are scratched, rested, schooled and brought back to run when and if ready.

irrespective of the overall profitability of the track business, the fact is that the greyhound industry employs a significant number of people. At all the tracks which I attend, there are tellers who have been employed there for many years. All the tracks employ handlers, who walk the dogs to the starting box and secure them when the race is over. These are usually young people who are fit enough to run from one end of the track to another, supervised by an older chief handler. I assume these are lower paid positions, ideal for young adults, college students and teenagers. These young people seem to enjoy their work, which keeps them fit and exposes them to animals they treat with love and respect. You see a turn over of these employees as the young employees move on to other jobs. Sometimes they take other positions at the track, moving up in the gaming industry. The racing industry employs people you do not see at the track. Breeders and kennels also employ people to breed, care for and train the greyhound. As to the tellers, I have seen some long term employees lose their jobs due to management decisions and the affect on them was devastating. I can only imagine how the track employees in Massachusetts felt when there jobs were eliminated due to the sentimentality of a handful of animal rights activist who week to impose their idea of "cruelty' on others.

The author protrays the customer, the "gambler" in a negative light of pathos, huddled over gaming carrols turning a pasty pallored shade casued by vitamin C deprivatation due to lack of of sunshine, destiend to destroy their own lives and finances. Most of us are, to the contrary, seeking entertainment. I recognize that I may lose a little money, but the expense is worth the entertainment. The track is a cool place to hang out. Many of the people are "regulars" and they become your friends. The tellers become your friends. The poker dealers become your friends. We the "degenerate gambler" feel for them when they lose a long standing job because we see them cry and stress when it happens.
I wonder if the activists who influenced the closing of the Massachusetts tracks considered the effect on those who lost their jobs. Was their action really "humane" The greyhounds they are seeking to "save" would not even have enjoyed a breath of life if it were not for the racing industry which spawned them. These dogs are not abused. Anyone who has seen a race can see how the dogs are exhilarated after finishing the race. It doesn't take an animal rights activist to recognize a happy dog. They are "born to run", it is their destiny. To deprive them of the very life and fulfillment that the racing industry offers them would itself be cruel. As to Ms. Dorchak, she can choose to "make" her prize show dog jump through a hoop or roll over and play dead. To me that is degrading and cruel. As to us race fans, our dogs are going to run for the roses. it is a much more noble existence. Give me my doggy dime!

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Joseph W McFarland Jr on 09/13/2012 at 3:44 PM


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