Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lack of Tolerance...

By Jennifer Ng

Last week, I posted the following review on the Grey2K Facebook page:

For anyone who loves greyhounds, please do some independent research and keep an open mind as the information provided by this organization is extremely biased, and often untrue. I wonder how many of those who "Like" and donate to this organization are aware that they:
  1. Allocate very little, if any, money toward the actual care and placement of retired racing greyhounds.
  2. Advocate for goals that would be severely detrimental to the gene pool and future health of the greyhound breed.
  3. Wouldn't care if their actions led to the destruction of the greyhound as a breed.
  4. Strictly censor discussions to suppress any positive information about greyhound racing to prevent people from getting an objective view and making up their own minds.
  5. Use photos and info that are outdated (often from decades ago), out of context (some from other countries), or from isolated incidents to mislead people about the current state of professional greyhound racing.
  6. May have ties to extremist animal rights organizations that would like to see the end of pet ownership or the 'use' of animals by humans in any capacity.

My review generated a bit of discussion, but none that really addressed the points I brought up. Within a few days, Grey2K had completely taken down the Reviews section of their page, a platform where they apparently couldn't selectively delete comments and block people.

Why is it that anti-greyhound racing groups like this one won't tolerate any kind of rational discussion on their sites? Like anything else in life, there is both good and bad in the greyhound racing industry. Also like most other groups of people, the good outweigh the bad, although the bad tends to get more publicity.

But anyone who has tried to point this out, to share the positive side and the reality of greyhound racing on forums managed by anti-racing admins, has quickly found out their comments are promptly deleted and they are blocked from posting. This invariably happens, regardless of how politely and rationally the comments are phrased.

Why are the anti-racing extremists so quick to suppress any opposing viewpoints? Is it because their whole stance is based on very biased and often misleading information? Because they don't want their followers to be exposed to the truth and learn that there is another side to the story?

The anti-racing activists have controlled the dialogue, through their well-funded campaigns and taking advantage of the media's preference for sensational headlines, for far too long. It's scary how the anti-racing propaganda has created a mentality against greyhound racing that is almost like a hate group, blindly prejudiced against anyone associated with greyhound racing.

To give an example of this, I recently commented on the NGA page applauding them for rescuing 141 greyhounds from a bad situation. In response to this, someone who was obviously anti-racing asked me, "As a vet how many greyhounds have you killed just because some loser couldn't suck a buck out of them?"

I think it's time that people learn the truth about what things are like behind the scenes for racing greyhounds. The racing community is a relatively small one, with many members who spend too many long hours caring for their dogs to post online, or are just not very tech-savvy. For these reasons, and an apparent lack of media interest in the boring, everyday, feel-good stories, there has not been much inside information shared publicly about greyhound racing in past years.

As social media has become more popular, I'm encouraged to see more people involved in the sport being more active about sharing their lives and love of these remarkable dogs. It feels like an uphill battle because of the ingrained prejudice created by years of anti-racing propaganda which is all that many people have been exposed to. I can only hope that there are enough open-minded people out there, willing to learn the truth, to make a difference.

My stake in wanting to see greyhound racing continue has nothing to do with profit. I am pro-racing simply because I am pro-greyhound, and I believe that the U.S. racing industry is integral to the long term health and future of the greyhound breed. I am primarily involved with greyhounds after retirement from their professional racing career, through my adopted ex-racers and volunteering with a greyhound group.

More recently, I've had some limited direct involvement with the industry through co-owning an active racing greyhound with a friend. She is now retired and happily living with her co-owner, and we have a commitment to partner on another racer who is currently still a puppy growing up on the farm. My involvement in the greyhound racing industry is but a drop in the bucket, but I am glad to contribute to a community that values all the awesome qualities that make greyhounds what they are, and works to preserve the breed's working heritage.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Great Grey2k Media Challenge

By Dennis McKeon

Lost in all the G2k hubbub over their attack on the National Greyhound Association’s recent handling of a neglect case, their subsequent rescue of 141 greyhounds, and the lifetime suspension from greyhound ownership and racing of the perpetrator, was this little tidbit:

The anti gambling organization, Stop Predatory Gambling, among others, has succeeded in having the previously resolved issue of whether or not local communities within Massachusetts should be allowed to decide whether or not they host a casino within their borders, overturned by Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling. Casino approval will now be decided by statewide ballot.
It might come as a surprise to some of us that an activist group like Grey2k, which has accepted millions in donations under the onus of “helping the greyhounds”, would be interested at all in the fate of Massachusetts’ would-be casinos.
That is, perhaps, until one discovers that the Executive Director of Grey2k also sits on the board of Stop Predatory Gambling, an activist organization dedicated to the elimination of state-sanctioned gambling and gaming.
Wikipedia has this to say about the Stop Predatory Gambling:
”The organization that would become Stop Predatory Gambling began forming in the early 1990s as state and community leaders challenged efforts to bring commercial gambling into their communities. Tom Grey, a Rockford, Illinois resident who fought against a proposed casino in his community, emerged as a leader for the movement representing a diverse national coalition of groups and individuals.”
Tom Grey also happens to sit on the Board of Grey2k.
Grey2k’s spokespersons have steadfastly maintained that the group is unengaged and neutral on the greater issue of gambling, and the formerly local issues of casino sanction. The Massachusetts Supreme Court docket, however, lists Stop Predatory Gambling as a complainant in this most recent overturning of the Attorney General’s previous ruling.
The Brockton Enterprise, in November of 2013, reported the following:
”Carey Theil, executive director of GREY2K USA, said although his organization does not have an official position on casino gambling in general, the nonprofit is backing the Repeal the Casino Deal coalition now working to add a ballot question to the November 2014 election that would repeal the law legalizing three casinos and one slot casino in Massachusetts.”
They did not mention that Theil also sits on the Board of Stop Predatory Gambling, however.
Recently, in Florida, the issue of “decoupling” took center stage. The decoupling question centers on whether casino-racetracks, whose management agreed to allocate a percentage of their casino profits to the purses that the greyhounds compete for, should be allowed to walk away from that agreement, which was intrinsic to their pari-mutuel license, which was intrinsic to their fast-tracking into casino license/operation, bypassing the normal bidding and licensing processes.
Grey2k were unabashed supporters of the Florida “decoupling” movement and proposed decoupling legislation. That, strangely enough, placed them in lock-step support with the Casino racetrack operations there, while at the very same time they were working with the Repeal the Casino coalition in Massachusetts.
Both Grey2k and Stop Predatory Gambling encourage and accept donations from the public to support their agenda and activities, and both have been granted tax-exempt status.
The decoupling movement gained traction with the curiously timed release of a report of what appeared to be an excessive number of racing related fatalities over a seven-month period at Florida’s greyhound tracks.
Subsequent analysis of the extremely nebulous reports, seemed to show that only about a little more than half of the fatalities documented were unquestionably attributable to racing, and not simply instances of normal, premature or accidental mortality, or were unexplained sufficiently.
The number of fatalities, nevertheless, was unprecedented, and unacceptable to the Florida Greyhound Association (of greyhound breeders, owners and kennel operators) who smelled a rank conflict of interest.
The negative publicity this report generated in the various mainstream and social media, seemed to be precisely what the casino-tracks needed to drive home their decoupling money grab, synchronized as it was to the upcoming legislative hearings and vote on the decoupling question.
Since it is the job of the casino/racetrack management to maintain a safe and hazard free racing surface for the greyhounds, the Florida Greyhound Association decided that the tracks perhaps needed some motivation to take care of their responsibilities in a more competent and holistic fashion.
To eliminate any possibility that the casino-racetracks were slacking in their commitment to proper racetrack maintenance and preparation, and perhaps deliberately cultivating a racing environment guaranteed to produce an excessive number of injuries to the greyhounds, and then reaping that attendant, helpful-to-their-cause, negative publicity which injuries to greyhounds generate, the Florida Greyhound Association proposed what came to known as the Smith Amendment.
This legislation would have mandated that all Florida’s racetrack lures be safeguarded against electric shock and concussion hazards, and would have held each racetrack’s management to a stipulated standard of racetrack surface maintenance and preparation.
Oddly enough, it was Senator Maria Sachs, who has worked hand in hand with Grey2k on the decoupling issue, as well as the humane controversies surrounding greyhound racing, who killed discussion on the Smith Amendment, essentially throwing this much-needed and greyhound-beneficial legislation on the trash heap, where the decoupling legislation also ended up.
Grey2k, the self-proclaimed “greyhound protection group” inexplicably failed to raise its voice in support of the Smith Amendment, which not only would have prevented future injuries to racing greyhounds, but could have served as a model of legislation for other states where greyhound racing is conducted.
Meanwhile, they were eagerly awaiting the decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, which, it turns out, will delay casino development in the commonwealth, if not entirely prohibit it, pending the whim of the electorate, who may or may not be anywhere near a proposed casino.
Perhaps the most inscrutable and shameful episode in this whole, tiresome scenario, is that the mainstream media, who are only too happy to trumpet every accusation Grey2k levels at greyhound racing professionals, seem oblivious to this flagrant lack of ethics and glaring conflict of interests.
Grey2k, meanwhile, right under the nose of the “bloodhound” media, double-dips with impunity. Supporting the casino-track operators in Florida, and working against them through proxy in Massachusetts, and accepting donations in either case, to “help us help the greyhounds”.
Then, when they had a chance to support legislation that would have proven a great benefit to all of Florida’s greyhounds, they did nothing.
Nothing, that is, other than to watch and listen as their political cohort dismissed the Smith Amendment as being unnecessary, while testifying before the legislature that the racetracks in Florida were well-managed and safe.
This, after years of defaming greyhound racing and the people who participate in it as being cruel, abusive and inhumane, essentially because of the supposed risk of injury to the greyhounds on those very racetracks---while accepting millions in donations from a public who believes they are investing in actual greyhound welfare provision, something Grey2k has never provided, and inexplicably failed to support, in this instance.
This arrogant nose-thumbing at their supporters, as well as their media sycophants, in a perfect world, would likely be interpreted by any industrious and ethical investigative reporter, as a spit-in-your-eye challenge.
It’s truly become a theater of the absurd.
Hopefully, someone, somewhere in the mainstream media has taken notice.
Copyright, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

Eric Jackson.... How Reckless Can One Be?

Today, I read on the Grey2K FaceBook page how Eric Jackson drove to Vaughn, New Mexico to rescue a one-year-old Italian Greyhound. The IG had been left in a drop box.  Anyway, after picking up the hound and while driving back to Albuquerque, Eric Jackson showed just how brilliant he is....  NOT!  He took a "selfie" of him driving with the dog sitting in his lap!

Eric Jackson & Dog In Lap
One has to wonder how many laws he broke taking this self-indulgent picture.  How many people were endangered?  

While most people on the Grey2K page are oohing & ahhing, feeding the ego of Jackson & company, only 3 people commented on how dangerous his actions were.  Darn shame a State Trooper wasn't around when this happened.  

Here are the comments of the three smart people.

"Kerry Caslow: How is that safe letting that dog ride in the driver's lap???? HUGE pet peeve and remarkably irresponsible. I have witnessed people get in wrecks over nonsense such as this."

"Ki BL: Taking a selfie with a dog in your lap driving down the highway...... How many laws did you break for that picture and how many lives did you risk? What wonderful work you do! Dumbass."

"Emily Burnett: Driving with the dog in his lap AND taking a selfie......really smart....insert sarcasm anywhere."

Three comments out of 191.  Guess we should be happy that there are 3 people who noticed. And, to think this guy is an instructor at the University of New Mexico.  Wonder what they'd think of his recklessness and arrogance?  

Yours in Greyhounds...