Opinion

Millions spent on greyhounds is a waste

An editorial from The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Betting on dog racing has almost disappeared in America. So far, 39 states have banned such tracks — mostly because animal-lovers protest that greyhounds spend their lives confined in cramped cages and suffer lethal injuries during wild gallops. Four other states have ceased racing, without prohibitory laws.

Today, only seven states — West Virginia, Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, Iowa and Texas — still have greyhound tracks.

Even where the sport is legal, gamblers generally ignore the dogs, instead spending their time at video wagering machines inside “racinos” — while hardly anyone sits in bleachers to see the greyhounds chase electronic rabbits. U.S. dog racing is in steep decline, and eventual extinction is predicted.

A few months ago, a West Virginia study ordered by the state Senate showed a colossal downturn: In 1990, gamblers wagered $64 million on dogs at the Cross Lanes track — but the sum dropped below $5 million in 2013. Yet the state gave a $29 million subsidy to dog breeders.

The same report said 162 greyhounds were killed by West Virginia racing between 2009 and 2013, while 3,331 were injured.

It makes little sense for West Virginia to continue pouring millions into a dying and hurtful sport…

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