Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Response to Status of the Greyhound Breed

By Dennis McKeon

Great article. The truth is, that the greyhounds most people know are the physical and spiritual manifestation of the inputs and feedback of racing. Period. Once racing is gone, they'll be gone. What will be left, if anything, will be racing greyhound effigies.

You see, there are thousands of people who profess to love and care for greyhounds, and who demonstrate that by keeping them as dearly beloved and well treated pets. It's a beautiful thing.

What I wonder, is how many of them have ever taken the time to reason through this: from where and how did these wonderful dogs emerge? That greyhound that you adore had to have had some sort of origin and background. If he's an NGA racing greyhound, well then he is just one member of an entire population of greyhounds. Whatever it is you love about him---and maybe even what you don't love about him---is a cause and effect of his background, and the vast and diverse genetic wellsprings of the racing greyhound population. You can take the dog away from the population, but you can't take the population away from the dog. You can't have phenomenal and uniquely beguiling pets, without a vital, vast and uniquely engendered population. The two are dynamically interdependent upon one another. Greyhound racing, and the dollars it generates, are the only thing that supports a realistically large, genetically diverse and functional greyhound population. Amateur racing is fantastic, but it won't ever replace the genetic treasures that will be lost forever, once macro-scale racing is gone.

Which female family of greyhounds is yours from? There are at least 46 of them that have emerged as crucial genetic contributors to the population since the advent of track racing. Which ones would you prefer to see fall into the eternal abyss, once the breeding population has contracted to levels that cannot sustain them? Which ones should we keep? What exactly is it about your plan that makes it so much more desirable and better for the breed's long term prospects than racing? As a matter of fact---what exactly is your plan? How will you manage and preserve the greyhound population?

I'm always amazed when people object to anyone "making a profit" from racing their greyhounds---as if somehow the greyhounds would be better served if one didn't make a profit, and instead lost everything they owned, so that eventually their dogs felt the sting of poverty, too. Profit is what makes the world go round, and what puts a short shelf life on bad caretakers, and what has given us the luxury of indulging ourselves with and basking in the reflected glory and beauty of this irreplaceable breed.

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