Greyhound Racing Ban Sought as Lawmakers File Invoice in Congress


Posted on: Could 20, 2021, 09:15h. 

Final up to date on: Could 20, 2021, 12:33h.

A bipartisan group of US Home members have filed laws that may ban greyhound racing and would amend the Wire Act to eradicate betting markets for the game.

West Virginia dog racing
Greyhounds break from the gate at the beginning of a race at Wheeling Island Lodge On line casino Racetrack in Wheeling, W. Va. A invoice filed in Congress would ban the game, which some animal advocates declare promotes cruelty to canine and different animals. (Picture: Wheeling Island)

US Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) sponsors the invoice, known as The Greyhound Safety Act. He joins with US Reps. Mike Waltz (R-Florida), Steve Cohen (D-Ten.), Elvira Salazar (R-Florida), Stephanie Murphy (D-Florida), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania) cosponsoring.

It’s the second straight yr Cárdenas has filed a invoice in opposition to greyhound racing. In a press release, he known as out the cruelty of the racing business. Not solely are the canine stored in pens almost all day, however Cárdenas additionally added coaching ways that may be vicious.

The textual content of this yr’s invoice was not revealed as of Thursday morning. A launch from Animal Wellness Motion mentioned the brand new invoice would “part out” industrial racing and would ban the usage of stay animals, reminiscent of rabbits, to coach greyhounds.

“My bipartisan invoice permits for a smart wind-down of an already-declining business that can finally outlaw greyhound racing,” he mentioned. “As a longtime animal welfare advocate, I’m at all times dedicated to at all times talking up for the unvoiced.”

Simply 4 Tracks Left

In accordance with GREY2K USA, an anti-racing group, canine racing is prohibited in 41 states. Final yr, tracks in Alabama and Texas closed.

There are solely 4 tracks presently open. Southland Park in West Memphis, Ark., and the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque, Iowa are phasing out operations.

After they shut, it’ll go away simply the Tri-State Greyhound Park at Mardi Gras On line casino and Resort in Cross Lanes, W. Va., and Wheeling Island Lodge On line casino Racetrack in Wheeling, W. Va., as the one properties nonetheless working.

1 / 4-century in the past, there have been 60 greyhound tracks within the US.

Greyhound racing has turn into exceedingly unpopular with People and is in a demise spiral,” mentioned Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Motion and the Heart for a Humane Financial system in a press release.

Nevertheless, GREY2K USA mentioned that regardless of the fast closure of most tracks, there are nonetheless as many as 18 states that permit simulcast wagering on greyhound races.

The invoice would additionally amend the Wire Act to incorporate a prohibition on utilizing wire communication gadgets to make wagers on greyhound races throughout state traces.

Greyhound Racing Booming in West Virginia

Greyhound racing could also be a dying business, however based on the Nationwide Greyhound Affiliation, it’s doing a sturdy enterprise in West Virginia.

In February, Wheeling Island posted the primary $1 million day by day deal with within the observe’s 45-year historical past. Via Could 8, the affiliation mentioned the observe has topped seven figures 19 extra occasions.

On Could 1, Wheeling Island reported a $1.38 million deal with. That missed setting a nationwide file for greyhound racing – posted almost 30 years in the past – by lower than $73,000.

Wheeling Island and Tri-State reported a mixed deal with of $124 million in 2019. Via the primary three months of 2021, the 2 tracks reported $80 million. 

Simply because the push to ban greyhound racing nationally has bipartisan help, the push to help it in West Virginia can be bipartisan.

“This vital improve in income has put West Virginia in a novel place – to not solely be sure that the racers are cared for, however that the a whole lot of jobs inside the business are stuffed by those that need to make sure the credibility and its long-standing custom of high quality,” Senate Majority Whip Ryan Weld (R-Wellsburg) advised the affiliation.

Home Minority Whip Shawn Fluharty (D-Wheeling) agreed.

“The rise in income additional proves that our native legislators had been appropriate in our evaluation that the business stays an financial driver for the Northern Panhandle and the state,” he advised the affiliation.

Passage This Session Appears Unlikely

The Greyhound Safety Act probably faces lengthy odds for passage. That’s not meant as a critique of the invoice, however simply the truth of Capitol Hill. Representatives and Senators file a whole lot of payments throughout every two-year session, and only some make it into regulation.

Final yr’s invoice by no means made it out of the Home Judiciary Committee. As well as, it ended the session with simply 15 cosponsors out of 435 members.

For perspective, the Horseracing Integrity Act had been proposed in every session starting in 2015 by US Reps. Andy Barr (R-Kentucky) and Paul Tonko (D-New York). The invoice known as for nationalized drug requirements within the sport.

Nevertheless, it took the rash of equine deaths at Santa Anita in 2019 to boost consciousness of the difficulty and generate sufficient help – greater than half of the Home members signed on as cosponsors – to get it handed by way of the Home final yr. And that occurred after then-Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) introduced his help for the laws. That invoice, the Horseracing Integrity and Security Act, was ultimately added to a spending invoice within the session’s ultimate days, and eventually grew to become regulation.

Nevertheless, animal welfare advocates stay optimistic concerning the greyhound invoice’s possibilities.

“Canine racing is merciless from begin to end,” famous Christine A. Dorchak, president and common counsel of GREY2K USA. “That is an antiquated business with a compulsion for cruelty.”

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