Humane Society –
November 11, 2002
WASHINGTON—When comedian Elayne Boosler discovered she had mistakenly been booked to appear at the Annual Symposium on Racing, she wasn’t laughing. The Symposium, scheduled for Tucson, Arizona, in December, will bring together representatives from the horse racing and greyhound dog racing industries. Boosler, a long-time animal activist, immediately cancelled the booking. According to The HSUS, that decision sends an important message to an industry that kills thousands of animals every year.
“I have some concerns about horse racing,” said Boosler, “but I could have lived with that, especially since I planned to donate the fee to animal protection groups. When I found out that the Symposium was also for dog racers however, that was it. There’s no way I would support greyhound racing. It’s a business that thrives on suffering.”
Boosler’s concerns mirrors those of The HSUS. “There are certainly problems with horse racing,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS senior vice president of communications and government affairs. “We don’t believe that practices such as racing two-year-olds or the pervasive use of drugs that can mask injuries are in the best interest of the horses. And we know that some thoroughbreds end up in slaughterhouses, with the meat sold to foreign markets.”
But it is dog racing that The HSUS is strongly opposed to. “It is estimated that there are 20,000 dogs killed a year in the greyhound racing industry,” noted Pacelle. “And these animals are not always euthanized humanely. Dogs are often dumped in landfills, shot, or given to labs for research.”
The dog racing industry tries to deflect criticism by pointing to their support for greyhound rescue groups. “We absolutely support efforts to find loving homes for dogs whose days at the track are over. But rescue groups can save only a fraction of the dogs who are discarded. The greyhound industry can’t be let off the hook that easily,” Pacelle added.
Boosler also supports the notion of breed rescue groups. In fact, her own organization, Tails of Joy, channels aid to many small animal rescue groups and is committed to ending animal cruelty. During Boosler’s current tour of cities across the United States, she invites local animal groups to distribute educational materials, and donates proceeds of after-show merchandise sales to the participating groups.
The HSUS says they hope that Elayne Boosler’s many fans follow her lead and refuse to support dog racing. “If you’re looking for entertainment, go see Elayne. There’s nothing entertaining about a day at the track once you know the truth about greyhound racing,” concludes Pacelle.