Greyhounds are adored by their families because of their gentle nature and coveted by commercial gambling racetracks because of their speed and agility. Though the sport has experienced a decline in profit and popularity as of late, a new bill in circulation could change all of that in the state of Kansas.
The Kansas Senate recently introduced Senate Bill 319, which would allow for the placement of slot machines at lottery gambling facilities and racetracks throughout the state – including the state’s financially zapped dog tracks. While supporters of SB 319 are pushing for the measure to pass because of the promise of job creation, opponents fear that Greyhounds will suffer as a result.
Now-defunct racetracks, like the Wichita Greyhound Park, could afford to reopen if the bill passes. If slot machines help boost the revenue at dog tracks, opponents argue, more Greyhounds will be bred, trained, raced, and mistreated in the name of economic stimulation.
Animal rights groups like the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States criticize commercial racetracks for their cruel and profit-driven practices. The Greyhounds live at the racing facility without human companionship, and their lives are too often cut short because of injury or lack of profitability. The average lifespan of a Greyhound raised in a home is 13 years, while the typical racing greyhound is euthanized before the age of three. According to statistics gathered by PETA, some 50,000 Greyhounds are euthanized each year. Opponents of Kansas SB 319 say that the bill would only add to that catastrophic number.
According to the organization Grey2K USA, Greyhound racing is illegal in 38 states; though there are currently no operational tracks in Kansas, Kansas has yet to legally prohibit the sport. Though Kansas does have a Pet Animal Act, K.S.A. 47-1701, Greyhounds do not benefit from it, as they do not qualify as “dogs” under the definitions of the act.