My greyhound bud Hawk has asked me to return to Scissions series on the world of greyhound racing and help do what I can to explain why it needs to stop. So I turn to West Virginia where all is not well, not well at all.
The greyhound industry is just one small component of Capital. No big deal in the whole global capital scheme of things. What is interesting is that in West Virginia, as local papers there have pointed out, when coal companies, steel mills, grocery stores, auto shops, and the like fall on hard times, they can't just ask the state of West Virginia for subsidies (well, I'm not so sure about coal companies, but let's pretend on that one). Businesses in the capitalist world, after all, are supposed to make it without help from the State. Well, in West Virginia, believe it or not, the Greyhound racing industry, and the horse racing industry for that matter, seem to be exempt from that basic law of Capital. Those two get huge state subsidies.
The Charleston Daily Mail reports:
Since 2008, the state has provided more than $41 million to West Virginia greyhound breeders through the Greyhound Breeding Development Fund, according to a report released today by Massachusetts-based nonprofit Grey2K USA.
"The state is investing in an industry that has passed," said Christine Dorchak, Grey2K president. "And we want to point out that this is not only a misuse of taxpayer money, it's also causing great harm to greyhounds."
Without that money the race track/casino owners claim they would have to close and many would lose their jobs.
Again from the Daily Mail,
Other states that have ended greyhound racing have also allocated money to people in the racing industry to help them transition to other jobs, Thiel said.
"But to us, our economy shouldn't be built on cruelty to dogs,"Thiel said. "We don't understand the argument that you should continue doing something that causes hundreds of dogs to die and thousands of dogs to endure lives of confinement."
A recent study (see link below) found that almost 4,800 injuries were reported in West Virginia from the beginning of 2008 to June of this year, the report states. More than 1,400 greyhounds suffered "career ending" injuries during that period. There is overlap in the data: a dog could suffer multiple injuries at one time or throughout the year.
Oh yeah, during that same time span 289 greyhounds died or were euthanized at West Virginia's two dog tracks.