Greyhound racing
Overview
 
Greyhound racing is the sport of racing greyhound
Greyhound
The Greyhound is a breed of sighthound that has been primarily bred for coursing game and racing, and the breed has also recently seen a resurgence in its popularity as a pedigree show dog and family pet. It is a gentle and intelligent breed...

s. The dogs chase a lure (traditionally an artificial 'hare' or 'rabbit') on a track until they arrive at the finish line. The one that arrives first is the winner.

In many countries, greyhound racing is purely amateur and conducted for enjoyment. In other countries (particularly the UK, US, Ireland, Australia, Spain, China and Mexico), greyhound racing is part of the gambling
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 business, similar to although far less profitable than horse racing
Horse racing
Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC...

.
Encyclopedia
Greyhound racing is the sport of racing greyhound
Greyhound
The Greyhound is a breed of sighthound that has been primarily bred for coursing game and racing, and the breed has also recently seen a resurgence in its popularity as a pedigree show dog and family pet. It is a gentle and intelligent breed...

s. The dogs chase a lure (traditionally an artificial 'hare' or 'rabbit') on a track until they arrive at the finish line. The one that arrives first is the winner.

In many countries, greyhound racing is purely amateur and conducted for enjoyment. In other countries (particularly the UK, US, Ireland, Australia, Spain, China and Mexico), greyhound racing is part of the gambling
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 business, similar to although far less profitable than horse racing
Horse racing
Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC...

. There is some popular concern in the aforementioned countries regarding the well-being of the dogs; the effectiveness of industry efforts to address these concerns is a topic of some debate. A greyhound adoption
Greyhound adoption
Greyhound adoption or Greyhound rescue programs focus on finding homes for Greyhounds who are no longer needed for racing. In some countries they live in kennels at the track....

 movement has arisen to assist retired racing dogs in finding homes as pets. During the race the greyhounds chase mechanical sheep or rabbits.

In Florida, where 16 tracks survive, the handle, or amount wagered, on racing has dropped from about $620 million to $300 million in 10 years.

History

Modern greyhound racing has its origins in coursing
Coursing
Coursing is the pursuit of game or other animals by dogs—chiefly greyhounds and other sighthounds—catching their prey by speed, running by sight and not by scent. Coursing was a common hunting technique, practised by the nobility, the landed and wealthy, and commoners with sighthounds and lurchers...

. The first recorded attempt at racing greyhounds on a straight track was made beside the Welsh Harp
Brent Reservoir
The Brent Reservoir is a reservoir which straddles the boundary between the London boroughs of Brent and Barnet and is owned by British Waterways...

 reservoir, Hendon
Hendon
Hendon is a London suburb situated northwest of Charing Cross.-History:Hendon was historically a civil parish in the county of Middlesex. The manor is described in Domesday , but the name, 'Hendun' meaning 'at the highest hill', is earlier...

 in 1876, but this experiment did not develop. The sport emerged in its recognizable modern form, featuring circular or oval tracks, with the invention of the mechanical or artificial hare in 1912 by Owen Patrick Smith. O.P. Smith had altruistic aims for the sport to stop the killing of the jack rabbits and see "greyhound racing as we see horse racing". The certificates system led the way to parimutuel betting
Parimutuel betting
Parimutuel betting is a betting system in which all bets of a particular type are placed together in a pool; taxes and the "house-take" or "vig" is removed, and payoff odds are calculated by sharing the pool among all winning bets...

, as quarry and on-course gambling, in the United States during the 1920s.

In 1926 it was introduced to Britain by an American, Charles Munn, in association with Major Lyne-Dixon, a key figure in coursing, and a Canadian, Brigadier-General Critchley
Alfred Critchley
Brigadier-General Alfred Cecil Critchley, CMG, CBE, DSO was an entrepreneur and politician in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland . He served as a Conservative Member of Parliament from 1934 to 1935....

. The deal went sour with Smith never hearing from Munn again. Like the American 'International Greyhound Racing Association' (or the In.G.R.A.), Munn and Critchley launched the Greyhound Racing Association
Greyhound Racing Association
The Greyhound Racing Association is a private company involved in the management of sports venues.It currently operates five sites:*Oxford Stadium*Wimbledon Stadium, London*Hall Green Stadium, Birmingham*Perry Barr Stadium, Birmingham...

, and held the first British meeting at Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

's Belle Vue Stadium
Belle Vue Stadium
Belle Vue Stadium is a greyhound racing track in Belle Vue, Manchester where the very first race around an oval track in Britain was held on 24 July 1926. It is also used for speedway as the home ground of Elite League team Belle Vue Aces since 1988 and since 1999 has British Stock Car Association...

. The sport was successful in cities and towns throughout the U.K. - by the end of 1927, there were forty tracks operating.

The sport was particularly attractive to predominantly male working-class audiences, for whom the urban locations of the tracks and the evening times of the meetings were accessible, and to patrons and owners from various social backgrounds. Betting has always been a key ingredient of greyhound racing, both through on-course bookmakers and the totalisator, first introduced in 1930. Like horse racing
Horse racing
Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC...

, it is popular to bet on the greyhound races as a form of parimutuel gambling.

In common with many other sports, greyhound racing enjoyed its highest attendances just after the Second World War—for example, there were 34 million paying spectators in 1946. The sport experienced a decline from the early 1960s- when the 1960 Betting and Gaming Act permitted off-course cash betting- although sponsorship, limited television coverage, and the later abolition of on-course betting tax have partially offset this decline.

Greyhound racing today

Today, greyhound racing continues in many countries around the world.

The main greyhound racing countries are:
Australia Ireland Great BritainNew Zealand United States
    • Alabama
    • Arizona
    • Arkansas
    • Connecticut
    • Florida
    • Guam
      Guam
      Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

       (Greyhound racing is legal, but the only operating track closed on November 8, 2008. Ban is being debated.)
    • Iowa
    • Kansas (Greyhound racing is legal, but not currently conducted)
    • Massachusetts (Racing ceased January 2010, banned by Question 3. (Passed November 4, 2008.))
    • New Hampshire (Racing banned as of January 1, 2011, by HB 630. (Signed into law July 8, 2010.))
    • Rhode Island
      Rhode Island
      The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

    • Texas
    • West Virginia
    • Wisconsin (Greyhound racing is legal, but the last operating track closed on December 31, 2009)
    • Colorado (Racing suspended in June 2008.)
    • Oregon (Greyhound racing is legal, but not currently conducted)
    • South Carolina (Greyhound racing is legal, but not currently conducted)


Smaller scale greyhound racing countries are: Argentina Brazil Czech Republic Macau, China
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

 Denmark Finland France Germany Hungary Lebanon Mexico The Netherlands Pakistan Portugal South Africa Sweden Vietnam

Living conditions

In several European countries (Belgium, Denmark, The Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland) greyhound racing is carried out by the owners of the dogs without financial interest. This amateur form of the sport is also found in some countries, such as the United States, where professional racing exists. In these countries the dogs often live as pets.

In Great Britain

Greyhound racing is a popular sport in Great Britain with attendances at around 3.2 million at over 5,750 meetings, across 26 stadiums in 2007 alone. There are 28 stadiums in Britain, it is a Parimutuel betting tote system with on-course and off-course betting available, with a turnover of £75,100,000.

On July 24, 1926, in front of 1,700 spectators, the first greyhound race took place at Belle Vue Stadium where seven greyhounds raced round an oval circuit to catch an electric artificial hare. This marked the first ever modern greyhound race in Great Britain.

Greyhound racing in Great Britain is regulated by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) In Britain greyhounds are not kept at the tracks and are instead housed in the kennels of trainers and transported to the tracks to race. There are 28 Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) registered stadiums in Britain. Those who race on the independent circuit (known as 'flapping'), do not have this regulation.

In Australia

The Australian Greyhound Racing Association (AGRA) is divided into many state governing bodies, which regulate greyhound welfare and living conditions. All racing authorities in Australia, part finance some of the Greyhound Adoption Groups, which house dozens of greyhounds a month.

Each Australian State and Territory has a governing greyhound racing body. Greyhound Racing New South Wales (GRNSW) and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) are the two largest authorities, governing over 40 racetracks.

The Queensland Greyhound Racing Authority (QGRA), Western Australian Greyhound Racing Authority (WAGRA), Tasmanian Greyhound Racing Authority (TGRA), Greyhound Racing South Australia (GRSA), Northern Territory Racing Authority, and the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club (CGRC), all contribute to running and monitoring of greyhound racing in Australia as it continues to grow.

Major greyhound racing venues include Wentworth Park
Wentworth Park
Wentworth Park is a multi-purpose sporting facility in the suburb of Glebe in New South Wales, Australia.that is used for various sports including rugby union, rugby league, soccer and greyhound racing. Wentworth Park is located 2 kilometres from the Sydney central business district...

 in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, Cannington Park in Perth
Perth, Western Australia
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia and the fourth most populous city in Australia. The Perth metropolitan area has an estimated population of almost 1,700,000....

, Greyhound Park
Greyhound Park
Greyhound Park is the only greyhound racing venue located in Adelaide, South Australia and has an approximate capacity of around 4,000. The track held its first registered meeting with full betting facilities on 20th April, 1972....

 in Adelaide
Adelaide
Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and the fifth-largest city in Australia. Adelaide has an estimated population of more than 1.2 million...

, Albion Park in Brisbane
Brisbane
Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of over 2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred around Brisbane, encompasses a population of...

 and Sandown Park
Sandown Park
Sandown Park is a horse racing course and leisure venue in Esher, Surrey, England, in the outer suburbs of London. It hosts one Group 1 flat race, the Eclipse Stakes. It regularly has horse racing during afternoons, evenings and on weekends, and also hosts many non racing events such as trade...

 in Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

.

Many adoption programs have been setup throughout Australia known as Greyhound Adoption Program or Greyhounds As Pets, GAP. They generally work with their Greyhound Racing Administration.

In Australia, greyhounds live in kennels at night and are put into running yards or day yards to keep them entertained and exercised, during the day, in accordance with guidelines set by the Australian Greyhound Racing Authority. This is aimed to keep greyhounds as fit, happy, and healthy as possible.

Greyhounds are checked for parasites, malnourishment, or any other medical conditions by an on-course vet before being able to compete.

In United States

In the United States, greyhound racing is governed by state law, which ranges from total prohibition in some states to lack of regulation in others.

The National Greyhound Association founded in 1906 strictly regulates greyhound ownership in the U.S, and has established comprehensive animal welfare guidelines based on veterinary recommendations. These guidelines cover nearly every aspect of greyhound care on the farm and at the racetrack. The American Greyhound Council conducts unannounced inspections each year on the nation's 300 breeding farms and kennels to enforce compliance with the industry's animal welfare guidelines. Minor violations are noted and corrected and more serious violations are addressed in hearings before the NGA's governing body. Those found guilty of these violations can be banned from the sport for life.

Greyhounds live in climate-controlled kennels, usually on or near the tracks where they race. They are turned out several times daily for mild exercise and play, exercised on sprint paths and taken for walks.

In addition to state law and regulations, most tracks adopt their own rules, policies and procedures. In exchange for the right to race their greyhounds at the track, kennel owners must sign contracts in which they agree to abide by all track rules, including those pertaining to animal welfare. If kennel owners violate these contract clauses, they stand to lose their track privileges and even their racing licenses.

In South Africa

In the Republic of South Africa dogs are kept with their owners. Due to the amateur state of racing, owners are usually also the trainer and rearer of the dogs; it is very rare that a dog is kenneled with a trainer.

Racing is controlled by a partnership between the United Greyhound Racing and Breeders Society (UGRABS) and the South African Renhond Unie (SARU - South African Racing Dog Union). The studbook is kept by the South African Studbook and organization who keep studbooks for all stud animals. Racing takes place on both oval and straight tracks. Racing is technically illegal in South Africa, which is strange as any other form of animal racing, i.e. horse racing, pigeon racing and even ostrich racing is perfectly legal. Great controversy rages because the use of greyhounds to hunt wild animals is a fairly common occurrence. The supporters of dog racing believe that legal racing, as an industry similar to that of Australia of Great Britain, would cause hunting to eventually stop.

Medical care

Greyhound adoption
Greyhound adoption
Greyhound adoption or Greyhound rescue programs focus on finding homes for Greyhounds who are no longer needed for racing. In some countries they live in kennels at the track....

 groups frequently report that the dogs from the tracks have tooth problems, the cause of which is debated. The groups often also find that the dogs carry tick
Tick
Ticks are small arachnids in the order Ixodida, along with mites, constitute the subclass Acarina. Ticks are ectoparasites , living by hematophagy on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians...

-borne diseases and parasites due to the lack of proper preventative treatments. The dogs require regular vaccination to minimize outbreaks of diseases such as kennel cough.

Recently, doping
Doping (sport)
The use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport is commonly referred to by the term "doping", particularly by those organizations that regulate competitions. The use of performance enhancing drugs is mostly done to improve athletic performance. This is why many sports ban the use of performance...

 has also emerged as a problem in greyhound racing. The racing industry is actively working to prevent the spread of this practice; attempts are being made to recover urine samples from all greyhounds in a race, not just the winners. Greyhounds from which samples cannot be obtained for a certain number of consecutive races are subject to being ruled off the track. Violators are subject to criminal penalties and loss of their racing licenses by state gaming commissions and a permanent ban from the National Greyhound Association
National Greyhound Association
The National Greyhound Association is the primary registry body for racing purebred dog Greyhound pedigrees in the United States.It is headquartered in Abilene, Kansas.Non-racing greyhounds are registered in the U.S. by the American Kennel Club....

. The trainer of the greyhound is at all times the "absolute insurer" of the condition of the animal. The trainer is responsible for any positive test regardless of how the banned substance has entered the greyhound's system.

Life after racing

After the dogs are no longer able to race (generally, a greyhound's career will end between the ages of two and six), or possibly when they no longer consistently place in the top four, the dogs' race career ends. The best dogs are kept for breeding purposes. There are both industry-associated adoption groups and rescue groups that work to obtain retired racing greyhounds and place them as pets. In the United Kingdom, according to the BBC, one in four retired greyhounds finds a home as a pet. In the United States, prior to the formation of adoption groups, over 20,000 retired greyhounds a year were killed; recent estimates still number in the thousands, with about 90% of National Greyhound Association-registered animals either being adopted, or returned for breeding purposes (according to the industry numbers upwards of 2000 dogs are still euthanized annually in the US while anti-racing groups estimating the figure at closer to 12,000.)Greyhound Racing Association media kit: The referenced industry figures do not include information about unregistered litters, nor outcomes for dogs after they finished as breeding dogs. The statistics vary depending on the reporting organization. According to the Greyhound Network News one page fact sheet estimates that of the 26,600 greyhounds that were no longer racing in 2005, 45% and of them were euthanized by either groups that could not adopt them out or by the dog breeders via farm culling. Other greyhounds are sold to research labs, such as Liverpool university animal training school, who have received the remains of dogs killed at Manchester's Belle Vue stadium. A trainer in Lincolnshire was also exposed offering 'slow' dogs to the Liverpool school. Additionally dogs are sent to foreign racetracks such as Spain and sometimes in developing countries. In the North East of England a man is believed to have destroyed as many as 10,000 healthy Greyhounds with a captive bolt gun

In New Zealand, around 700 dogs are bred each year for racing, and between 300-700 are imported from Australia. Approximately 100 are retired annually, but the vast majority are unaccounted for. Australia has similar adoption ratios, although is around 9 times larger than the new Zealand industry.

Several organizations, such as British Greyhounds Retired Database, GRWE, GAGAH, Adopt-a-Greyhound and Greyhound Pets of America, and the Retired Greyhound Trust try to ensure that as many of the dogs as possible are adopted. Some of these groups also advocate better treatment of the dogs while at the track and/or the end of racing for profit. In recent years the racing industry has made significant progress in establishing programs for the adoption of retired racers. In addition to actively cooperating with private adoption groups throughout the country, many race tracks have established their own adoption programs at various tracks.

In recent years, several state governments in the United States have passed legislation to improve the treatment of racing dogs in their jurisdiction. During the 1990s, seven states banned live greyhound racing. In November 2008, Massachusetts held a vote to ban greyhound racing, which passed 56% to 44%.

Celebrity greyhound owners

A number of historical figures and celebrities have owned or raced greyhounds. Alexander the Great, Henry VIII and his consort, Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn ;c.1501/1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the...

, and Prince Albert
Prince Albert
Prince Albert was the husband and consort of Queen Victoria.Prince Albert may also refer to:-Royalty:*Prince Albert Edward or Edward VII of the United Kingdom , son of Albert and Victoria...

 of Saxe Coburg Gothe all had greyhounds as companions. More recently Al Capone
Al Capone
Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone was an American gangster who led a Prohibition-era crime syndicate. The Chicago Outfit, which subsequently became known as the "Capones", was dedicated to smuggling and bootlegging liquor, and other illegal activities such as prostitution, in Chicago from the early...

, Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

, Mr. Burns, Vinnie Jones
Vinnie Jones
Vincent Peter "Vinnie" Jones is an English film actor and retired Welsh footballer.Born in Hertfordshire, England, Jones represented and captained the Welsh national football team, having qualified via a Welsh grandparent. He also previously played for Chelsea and Leeds United. As a member of the...

 and Dara Ó Briain
Dara Ó Briain
Dara Ó Briain is an Irish stand-up comedian and television presenter, noted for hosting topical panel shows such as The Panel and Mock the Week....

 whose dog Snip Nua
Snip Nua
Snip Nua was a racing greyhound who featured in the BBC television show Three Men go to Ireland.-Biography:Born in the spring of 2008, Snip Nua was a racing greyhound who became famous because she featured in the BBC television show Three men go to Ireland, which was broadcast over the Christmas...

 featured on BBC TV, raced greyhounds.

Trent Reznor
Trent Reznor
Michael Trent Reznor is an American multi-instrumentalist, composer, record producer, and leader of industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. Reznor is also a member of How to Destroy Angels alongside his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, and Atticus Ross. He was previously associated with bands Option 30,...

 of Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails is an American industrial rock project, founded in 1988 by Trent Reznor in Cleveland, Ohio. As its main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist, Reznor is the only official member of Nine Inch Nails and remains solely responsible for its direction...

 has adopted multiple retired racers. JK Rowling also rescued a greyhound.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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