Opinion piece rebuttal
Ending agreements and incentives for Greyhound Racing is the wrong move.
Let's start by clearing something very important up - the 13-15 million is an agreement between two professional organizations and the state. It is not in any way, shape, or form coming from resident taxpayer dollars.
NGA Greyhound racing is evolving – it has become a full smooth lifecycle, from breeding farm, to racing dog owner, to finishers, to trainer, to adopter. The opponents of this lifestyle would lead the legislature and public to believe the activity of greyhound racing is, as the previous opinion piece called it, “inhumane”.
This is an erroneous moniker. Why? Because we are talking about the treatment of canines. Chasing in packs is natural canine behavior. How greyhounds live at the track is actually far more natural and fulfilling from a CANINE perspective. Retired greyhound racers have become highly sought after as pets, because exercise, discipline and affection are part of their daily routine at the track. It produces a well-balanced canine companion.
It was an eye-opening phenomenon to see the incredible volume of opposition to A13 in Florida come from adopters and adoption groups. Over 100 volunteer Greyhound adoption agencies and thousands of individual adopters across North America (USA and Canada) came together in support of Greyhound Racing. If greyhound racing was the callous, cold-blooded, heartless activity the opposition would lead the public to believe then why would the very people who “rescued” these canines from this so called ‘inhumane” treatment support it’s continuation?
Because they saw how these incredible canine athletes are treated first-hand. They gained knowledge of the people who own them, train them, and breed them. The dogs came to them balanced and adaptable, happy and healthy. What they saw first-hand was compassionate care, from kindhearted well-meaning people. They saw first-hand people whose intentions were most definitely not cruel.
There is a disturbing trend here in the United States, groups like G2K genuinely believe they have the right to determine how others live their lives, in this case people whose lifestyle revolves around racing dogs. As Americans we need to stand up and disagree with these groups’ tactics to infringe on other people’s rights. As the Declaration of Independence states their right to …”Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That right includes, so long as there is no intent to harm, to make ones living as we so choose and must be protected.
We agree with Gov. Justice’s wise decision in 2017 to uphold the revenue sharing agreement and the state-bred incentive programs that will continue to allow Greyhound Racing to evolve.
All over America, in light of online shopping, retail outlets are closing. Malls are changing their offerings, to offer experiences – bowling, movies, dining options, etc.
West Virginia has a tremendous opportunity, as does the Greyhound Racing Community in the state, to become a destination for a canine experience. The revenue sharing agreements and breeding incentives are a smart move to support that evolution. The evolution is already happening, more and more adopters are purchasing racing prospects – they want to have the thrilling experience of seeing their own dog race, following the dogs’ whole racing life until they retire and those owners make them their pet. A complete life-cycle.
The destination for that experience can be West Virginia, and as such the revenue sharing agreements and the state bred incentives should be kept in place.