In an ideal world, this form of entertainment would be abolished. For now, all we can hope for is more regulations and the decrease of maltreatment of greyhounds and all other animals impacted by this exploitation. Greyhound racing was first reported in the mid-nineteenth century throughout Europe but especially in England. The sport's popularity peaked following the conclusion of the Second World War. However, today many animal rights advocates raise several startling arguments against the spectator sport due to its regular mistreatment of the racing dogs. The health and wellbeing of the animals are often entrusted to the trainer of the athlete. However, this becomes problematic when trainers have several different dogs to focus on and can easily switch out the animals when one becomes injured—essentially, the dogs are treated as expendable items.
One major problem seen within greyhound racing is the rising rate at which trainers dope up their dogs before races. Doping before events has been cited as a large problem throughout the racing community—dogs are usually given drugs to enhance their performance, but there is no regulated threshold to the dosage that trainers can give them.
Large outbreaks of illnesses have also been cited as a huge problem for the racing population. Dogs are in constant contact with the other animals that are being trained as well as with their competitors. This being said, the opportunity for outbreaks and an epidemic is incredibly high. Dogs who are kept in close quarters with other dogs are more at risk for sicknesses such as kennel cough. These outbreaks are preventable through vaccination, but trainers are much less likely to pay for the vaccination of all of their dogs if it means they aren't likely to turn a profit (if the dog is slow and less likely to earn the trainer or group money, they are usually left unvaccinated).
Besides all of these unfair mistreatments of dogs, the animals are still subject to all of the same problems that regular professional athletes are. The degradation of joints, the breaking of bones, and the pulling of muscles are very common and very real problems that plague the racing community. These ailments are very treatable, but trainers will often let injured dogs go untreated rather than paying for a trip to the veterinarian in the interest of saving money. This issue coincides with that of abandonment which is also rampant throughout the racing community. Greyhounds' prime racing ages fall between four and six—after the dogs pass their sixth birthday, they are typically abandoned without remorse.
Despite all of these distressing problems, the sport of greyhound racing is still prevalent in many areas. Thankfully, steps are being taken around the globe to lessen the amount of harm that befalls these animals or to end the practice altogether. In the United Kingdom, races are still occurring. However, greyhounds are required to pass a veterinary inspection before they are allowed to be entered in a race.
In the United States, there are still seventeen operating greyhound racing tracks and while trainers are held accountable for the wellbeing of all of their dogs, many animals still die every year due to their lack of "winning potential." One of the biggest sources for help in the world of greyhound racing is the vast database of organizations willing to pay for retired greyhounds so that they can allow families to adopt them. This has increased the rate at which trainers retire their greyhounds into loving homes, compared to the alternative of abandoning them. Although the world of greyhound racing is still present, many measures have been taken over the years to better ensure the wellbeing of the animals. But even with this step in the right direction, the public needs to be educated on this topic and must understand that there is still a long way to go.