Greyhound Racing Ban Sought as Lawmakers File Invoice in Congress


Posted on: Might 20, 2021, 09:15h. 

Final up to date on: Might 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 first 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, referred to 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 12 months Cárdenas has filed a invoice towards greyhound racing. In an announcement, he referred to as out the cruelty of the racing trade. 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 12 months’s invoice was not revealed as of Thursday morning. A launch from Animal Wellness Motion stated the brand new invoice would “part out” industrial racing and would ban using reside animals, comparable to rabbits, to coach greyhounds.

“My bipartisan invoice permits for a smart wind-down of an already-declining trade that may in the end outlaw greyhound racing,” he stated. “As a longtime animal welfare advocate, I’m all the time dedicated to all the time talking up for the unvoiced.”

Simply 4 Tracks Left

Based on GREY2K USA, an anti-racing group, canine racing is against the law in 41 states. Final 12 months, tracks in Alabama and Texas closed.

There are solely 4 tracks at present 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 operating.

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

Greyhound racing has grow to be exceedingly unpopular with Individuals and is in a loss of life spiral,” stated Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Motion and the Heart for a Humane Economic system in an announcement.

Nonetheless, GREY2K USA stated that regardless of the speedy closure of most tracks, there are nonetheless as many as 18 states that enable 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 strains.

Greyhound Racing Booming in West Virginia

Greyhound racing could also be a dying trade, however in keeping with the Nationwide Greyhound Affiliation, it’s doing a sturdy enterprise in West Virginia.

In February, Wheeling Island posted the primary $1 million each day deal with within the monitor’s 45-year historical past. By means of Might 8, the affiliation stated the monitor has topped seven figures 19 extra occasions.

On Might 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. By means of the primary three months of 2021, the 2 tracks reported $80 million. 

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

“This important improve in income has put West Virginia in a novel place – to not solely be certain that the racers are cared for, however that the a whole lot of jobs throughout the trade are stuffed by those that wish to make sure the credibility and its long-standing custom of high quality,” Senate Majority Whip Ryan Weld (R-Wellsburg) instructed 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 trade stays an financial driver for the Northern Panhandle and the state,” he instructed the affiliation.

Passage This Session Appears Unlikely

The Greyhound Safety Act seemingly 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 legislation.

Final 12 months’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 referred to as for nationalized drug requirements within the sport.

Nonetheless, it took the rash of equine deaths at Santa Anita in 2019 to lift consciousness of the difficulty and generate sufficient assist – greater than half of the Home members signed on as cosponsors – to get it handed by way of the Home final 12 months. And that occurred after then-Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) introduced his assist for the laws. That invoice, the Horseracing Integrity and Security Act, was finally added to a spending invoice within the session’s closing days, and eventually turned legislation.

Nonetheless, animal welfare advocates stay optimistic in regards to 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 trade with a compulsion for cruelty.”

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