The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 36.0°F | Overcast


Treating Greyhounds as Pets

Guest Column
Morgan Woodruff

In response to Michael J. Ring’s Oct. 17 column “Save Racing, Save Jobs, Save Research,” I submit a few corrections on most issues surrounding Question 3.

First, let me state I support animal research except on canines. I wear leather. I love to eat meat, and I am also urging all people to vote “yes” on Question 3.

Dog owners are mostly compassionate, loving and kind people. They do not cage their beloved Labrador retrievers for up to 22 hours a day, as greyhounds are. It is common knowledge that the dogs are fed “4-D” meat from diseased, dying, dead or downed cattle; it is raw and entirely unprocessed. That diet is so vile that it has taken us close to one year to stabilize the digestive system of the small female that we brought home as our second greyhound. Dare I mention that she had a puncture wound straight through the webbing on her rear foot, which was severely infected and infested with parasites as it tried to heal over the wound, even as she was made to continue racing? Is this the same care Ring’s example, KC Sundrop, received? Or perhaps my dog must have been one that the State Police and Racing Commission overlooked.

Do you think someone who owns a beagle or poodle would allow that type of neglect to happen to his or her beloved pet? Why is it so acceptable for a greyhound? Could it be that they actually have become that much of a commodity? A poorly nourished, poorly cared-for greyhound is, sadly, just as able to run a good race. That is exactly why owners do not bother to care for them. Rescue organizations deal with malnourished, parasite-ridden, wounded “retired” greyhounds on a daily basis. I do not believe that you would ever hear a report on a sound, clean, trusting greyhound coming in for adoption; it doesn’t happen!

A greyhound’s date of birth and other information is tattooed on the inside of their ears for identification purposes. Of the tens of thousands of greyhounds that are euthanized, did you include the ones that had they ears cut off so they could not be identified when they were buried in Florida? What’s to hide? When our season slows down in New England those lucky dogs get to go work somewhere else and Wonderland and Raynham have no control over what happens to them. It is one big connected industry, which is why money from other states is helping to defeat this initiative.

Additionally, Ring’s argument of the hardship to the workers who will be out of work is preposterous. I’m told Starbucks starts at $9 an hour with full benefits, and there is no shortage of jobs in the state. Governor Cellucci has said countless times that anyone who wants a job in this state can find one. Seems to me there has never been a better time in Massachusetts to begin a new career.

You also did not mention that Greyhound racing is illegal in 34 states. Why? You also failed to mention that the track owners have wanted the state taxpayers to subsidize their failing businesses and were denied. You also failed to mention that only the simulcast portion of tracks’ business is profitable now, and without it, they are doomed. Well, simulcast was only a temporary thing, and it goes away in December of this year -- what then?

Ring convoluted the issues to such an extent that one must wonder what his connection to the industry really is. I can’t imagine that anyone could have read the ballot question and deduced that which he wrote. This is not about animal research, as much as he and his allies would want to confuse everyone into believing that it is. It’s about humanity. It’s about having a conscience. It’s about big business that promotes cruel and abusive treatment to noble, innocent dogs. It needs to stop now. Stop the exploitation of greyhounds; they are just pets.