In 1931, the state of Florida was the first in the United States to authorize greyhound races with bets, and almost nine decades later it could attend the coup de grace to this competition. An animalist coalition has launched a campaign to ban it in Florida and pushes an amendment to the Florida Constitution to vote on November 6 – legislative, state and local elections its proposal to end this controversial show.
The Supreme Court of Florida must decide on August 29 if the proposed amendment reaches the polls. At the beginning of this month a judge suspended her giving the reason to the Florida Greyhound Association, formed by breeders and trainers of this breed, who argued that the wording of the amendment is misleading because it hides that the bets would continue anyway, because Even if there were no races, we could continue playing in televised competitions from other states. Advocates of the amendment litigation and an appellate court referred the case to the Supreme Court.
If the amendment is finally voted on, a minimum of 60% in favor would be required for it to be approved and the ban would take effect in 2020. If that happened, the greyhound races, less and less popular, would be closer to disappearing altogether In U.S.A. Florida has 11 of the 17 tracks operating throughout the country and the rest are scattered in five other states. In 40 states, races are illegal. The volume of bets, which hovered around 3,000 million dollars annually in the early nineties, has plummeted by 70%.
The greyhound racing business is up against the current in Florida. The state attorney general, Pam Bondi, close to President Trump, has suggested to the Supreme Court that it allow the consultation and that “common sense” decide. And the campaign team of the rival side has more muscle. According to The Washington Post, it already adds 2.5 million dollars in donations. The main contribution has been the one of Doris Day, of 96 years and one of the stars of the golden age of Hollywood. Its foundation for the defense of animals has contributed one and a half million dollars.
The supporters of the races have accumulated about $ 50,000, as the chairman of the Committee in support of the greyhounds, Jennifer Newcome, affirmed. According to her, the promoters of the amendment are “radical activists” who disseminate photos of battered greyhounds that, she says, “have been manipulated or are from decades ago or from other countries.” Newcome defends that the racing greyhounds receive excellent treatment and that they were born to run. In addition, he warns that according to his data, ending the careers would eliminate 3,000 jobs in Florida.
Sonia Stratman, vice president of the Protect the Dogs campaign, which promotes voting, sees only a canine nightmare in the racing world. “They say they love to run, but they have them locked up all week, more than 20 hours a day in cages, and they only let them go 30 seconds a day so they run down a track at 70 kilometers per hour knowing that they will end up hurting”, He says.
The Government of Florida has registered since 2013 the death of 461 greyhounds in the tracks, among other causes for neck fractures and heart attacks. Doping round the races. According to Grey2K USA, one of the groups that support the amendment, in the last decade, 400 greyhounds have tested positive in Florida for stimulating substances. Including 68 cases for cocaine.
One of the leading casinos in Miami, the Magic City, this year removed their greyhound careers. According to local media, he did it to get rid of activity with a bad reputation. Its head of operations, Scott Sevin, explained that the decision only had to do with practical issues: “The track occupied two and a half hectares that we now have at our disposal to develop.” The greyhound races in Florida carry a game license and that’s why they had maintained them, Sevin said. In order not to lose the license, they have been replaced by another singular activity with permission to operate casinos in this state