Tag Archives: greyhounds

Victory (for dogs) at Victoryland!

We’re not ones to celebrate the loss of jobs for folks in this economy, particularly folks in vulnerable communities. But we have to say that were very happy this morning to read Grandma Advertiser’s announcement that VictoryLand is ending live greyhound racing. Evidently they relied on “bingo” games to subsidize their systematic dog torture racing, but now that the morality-loving State of Alabama police and government won’t let them run “bingo” games anymore, they can’t afford to have live dog abuse racing.

Alabama, as one of seven states where the practice is still legal, is well acquainted with the senseless brutality of dog racing. In 2007, VictoryLand’s broken heating units caused 23 dogs to die in its kennels. Last year, 32 dogs died at a track just across the Alabama border in Florida, after “an adoption operator at the Ebro dog track reported the smell of decaying animals coming from the neighboring kennels.”All this after a 2002 investigation found the remains of more than 3,000 “retired” greyhounds on a farm in Lillian.

In 2004, the Alabama legislature passed a bill that exempted racing greyhounds from existing animal torture laws (making the practice a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison). Then-Baldwin County District Attorney David Whetstone told the Mobile Register that the law is “dog-specific. There’s no doubt that it would exclude the “Gucci Law”, or the Alabama animal cruelty law, as it applies to greyhound dogs,” he said. “It effectively reduces the greyhound dog to a beast of burden… A junkyard dog has more protection than a greyhound dog under this statute.”

Look, let’s be blunt: Alabama as a whole could care less about the welfare of greyhounds. While many people are dog owners and maybe did rally to give some money to various animal shelters after the recent tornadoes, it’s just an example of the classic “we care about individual victims” (the poor homeless puppy) but ignore institutional atrocities (a for-profit dog murder-race factory).

One good example of our general disinterest could be seen back in February of 2010 when Carey Theil, Executive Director of Grey2K USA, came to Montgomery to speak in opposition to a bill expanding bingo gambling in Alabama. Theil got about three sentences out, explaining that he was against gambling because it was often linked (as it is was at Victoryland) to greyhound racing, which is cruel, barbaric, etc. At that point, Theil got cut off by a pretty hostile legislator, who informed him that his stupid blather about the poor abused racing dogs had no bearing on bingo in Alabama.

Frankly, we’re not that invested in taking a side on gambling here at LiM. On the one hand, it can be fun to gamble. On the other hand, it’s a pretty sad pathetic economic development strategy. It would be nice if our economy could be based on making something other than fruity drinks for poor ladies blowing meager paychecks in a depressing smoky rural hellhole. We’re not going to gloat over the loss of jobs at VictoryLand, but we are awfully happy that there won’t be any greyhound racing there any longer. And if that’s a loss for economic development the gambling oligarchs, that’s fine.

Here’s hoping Alabama joins the ranks of modernity by banning the practice of dog racing sometime in our lifetimes.