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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Racing Toward an End to Cruel Greyhound Contests

This week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected an attempt by racetrack owners to jettison a dog racing measure from the November ballot. That means Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to decide on Question 3, which would phase out dog racing in the Commonwealth.

Greyhound The political group organized to pass Question 3, the Committee to Protect Dogs, filed an amicus brief in the case, and was represented pro bono by the law firm O'Melveny & Myers LLP. Question 3 is backed by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Animal Rescue League of Boston, GREY2K USA, The Humane Society of the United States, dozens of state lawmakers, and hundreds of community leaders.

In 2000, a similar measure went down by the narrowest of margins, 51 to 49 percent of the vote. And in 2006, voters were denied the chance to have their say when a lawsuit knocked the measure off the ballot at the last minute. Animal advocates are hopeful that the third time is a charm, and that dogs will finally get the protections they deserve this November.

Dog racing is a dying industry, and it’s cruel and inhumane. Thousands of Massachusetts greyhounds endure lives of confinement, kept for 20 or more hours each day in cages barely large enough to stand up or turn around in. Just as with Proposition 2 in California, which would phase out the cruel confinement of animals in industrial factory farms, the cruel confinement of dogs by the racing industry is just plain wrong.

According to state records more than 800 Massachusetts racing greyhounds have been injured since 2002, including dogs who suffered broken legs, paralysis and even death from cardiac arrest. Massachusetts greyhounds have even died recently from a mysterious illness and tested positive for cocaine, an illegal stimulant.

Enough is enough. Would you treat your dog this way? Dogs are important in our lives and deserve protection. Massachusetts voters should vote Yes on Question 3, and visit the Committee to Protect Dogs to find out how you can help. 

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