Exalted? Or Exploited?

Greyhounds love to run—it’s what they were born to do. They need to run the way other dog breeds need to hunt, herd, retrieve or dig up flower beds.

And we humans love to watch them do it. Formerly one of the nation’s largest spectator sports—featuring thousands of live races each year on tracks in several states and simulcast broadcasts throughout the U.S.—greyhound racing continues to be one of the most controversial. Animal advocates claim it’s inherently cruel and inhumane. Breeders and owners say they love the dogs, and that racing is good for the breed. Track owners contend that they’re satisfying a market demand

So is Racing Good or Bad?

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Is the racetrack an environment that supports dog owners who are devoted to a breed that loves to run? An outlet for competition enthusiasts and gamblers? Or a money-making enterprise for track operators, dog and kennel owners, trainers, and bookies?

The Irony

From 1991 to 2013, the amount wagered on greyhound racing in the U.S. has declined 80%. There were 61 tracks in North America in 1991. As of June 2014, only 21 remain, 13 of which are in Florida. In fact, several industry insiders give commercial dog racing less than a decade before it passes into history in the U.S.

Here’s the Problem: While many believe that could be good news for the dogs, others believe it could be very bad.

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