Our industry's strongest advocate may be you. That's because you, as a citizen, have the power to influence your legislators. The Government Affairs staff would like to see every person who cares about their interests take part in lobbying. With this in mind, we have created training documents to enhance your lobbying techniques. You do not need any prior experience to help pass pro-racing legislation; all you need is the determination to communicate with those who represent you in your local, state, and federal governments.
WHAT EVERY LEGISLATOR SHOULD KNOW
Source: American Greyhound Council
I. Greyhound racing has taken strong steps to ensure proper animal welfare from the farm to the track.
On the farm:
Greyhound breeders have consulted with the veterinary community and state regulators to develop a rigorous program of animal welfare standards and unannounced farm inspections. More than half of the nation's 1,300 greyhound farms are inspected each year by the American Greyhound Council (AGC) or state regulators.
Through the National Greyhound Association (NGA), greyhound breeders have adopted tough penalties for animal welfare violations, ranging from temporary suspension from racing to lifetime expulsion from the sport, and notification of state racing and law enforcement agencies where legal action may be appropriate.
The American Greyhound Council has funded the development and publication of the most complete veterinary textbook ever written on racing greyhounds, "The Care of the Racing Greyhound," which now serves as a vital reference for veterinary colleges and clinics, university libraries, racetracks, trainers, small animal veterinarians and greyhound adoption groups.
At the Track:
Standard contracts between tracks and kennel operators require that proper animal welfare standards be maintained at all times, and provide for rejection or revisions of licensing if proper kennel standards are not maintained.
All tracks retain full-time veterinarians to ensure that racing animals are healthy and managed in compliance with relevant state laws and gaming regulations.
All tracks have banned the use of live lures, and the American Greyhound Council has produced a video for trainers demonstrating proper use of artificial lure training procedures.
II. Greyhound racing has taken strong steps to ensure that retired greyhounds find suitable homes though local and national adoption programs.
U.S. greyhound tracks have spent an estimated $7.2 million over the past five years on track-based greyhound adoption programs -- nearly $1.6 million in 1998 alone.
Through the American Greyhound Council, U.S. tracks have contributed an additional $600,000 over the past eight years in grants to national adoption organizations, an effort coordinated previously by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of animals (ASPCA), and now by the Council itself.
The American Greyhound Council funds a national hotline for Greyhound Pets of America, an independent not-for-profit organization that promotes greyhound adoption in ads and on the Internet.
As a result of cooperation between the industry and the volunteer adoption groups, in excess of 90% of all racing greyhounds are now adopted into loving homes or returned to the farm for breeding purposes upon retirement.
III. The animal rights attack on greyhound racing is not about animal welfare, but about a value system that opposes animal use for any human purpose.
Animal rights advocates will oppose greyhound racing no matter how humanely the sport is conducted, because, in the words of the Humane Society's Michael Fox, "The life of ant and and the life of my child should granted equal consideration."
Most of the groups that oppose greyhound racing contribute nothing to national adoption efforts, spending their money on publicity stunts and political attacks instead of direct services to benefit animals.
Contrary to animal rights claims, greyhound racing has never been banned in a state where racing actually existed. The only states that have "banned" racing are a few where the sport wasn't operating anyway, making them easy targets for animal rights activists looking for quick political victories.