From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1997:

Tracks hounded out of business

BRIDGEPORT, Ct.– – Grey-
hound racing foes are torn between
rejoicing that the $30 million Shoreline
Star track has shut for the winter and perhaps
forever, after just one year, and
mourning the dogs who may be destroyed
because the closure of eight tracks in
three years has glutted the demand for
greyhound pets.
About 200 dogs were believed
to have been at Shoreline Star when the
track, still open for simulcast betting, on
November 30 suspended live racing until
at least May 1. Owner Robert Zeff filed
for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reorganization
last summer. The track reportedly
generated just $14 million in revenue,
less than 25% of the $60 million first projected.

Beyond debts, it became tangled
in rumors of scandal when mer state gaming
board chair Francis J. Muska resigned
last April after media disclosed that he
and Zeff traveled to Las Vegas together
the same day the board voted to waive a
background check on Zeff.
The Shoreline Star closure followed
those of the Wisconsin Dells
Greyhound Park on September 8, and the
Greenetrack raceway in Eutaw,
Alabama, on August 14, ten days early.
Rescue groups took 205 of the
575 dogs who were kenneled at Greentrack,
and about 300 of 900 from
Wisconsin Dells, as the rest were shifted
to other tracks––but even the nine-yearold
Greyhound Friends network, of
Hopkinton, Massachusetts, stumbled
under the load, temporarily losing its
kennel license on August 18 because
founder Louise Coleman allegedly had
more than 40 dogs while licensed to keep
just 20. Coleman got back under the
limit by adopting out dogs, but was
obliged to delay taking more when the
Lakes Region Greyhound Park in Belmont,
New Hampshire, shut for the season
after Labor Day, leaving 250 dogs
homeless. The tracksaid it would held
the dogs until rescuers could take them.
The fall closures left exactly 50
operating U.S. greyhound tracks, with
several others wobbly, including both
tracks in Kansas. Attendance at the
Wichita Greyhound Park fell 22% in
1996. The Woodlands, near Kansas
City, Kansas, filed for bankruptcy last
May, and is to be liquidated on June 1 if
it doesn’t achieve a turnaround.

Nuts to bullfighting

BATULIA, Colombia––Out to
prove his manhood, an amateur bullfighter
instead lost it to a bull’s horn, Paul
Haven of Associated Press reported on
November 23.
The new eunuch was among
several thousand mostly inebriated men
who thronged the Batulia bullring before
up to 20,000 spectators during a five-day
amateur bullfighting festival, one of an
annual series held August to January.
Haven said the bulls are rarely
hurt, but the events apparently bring more
human injuries than the famed “running of
the bulls” at Pamplona, Spain, the bestknown
such contest, where six bulls are
released into the streets each morning for
a week. At least 14 people were gored at
Pamplona last July, none fatally, while
one bull suffered broken horns. Angel
Gavilanes, 50, of Madrid, was fatally
gored on July 6 at a rival running of the
bulls in Fuentesauco.
The 200-member winter class of
the Escuela de Tauromaquia in Madrid
includes at least 12 members who won’t
lose their manhood to a bull’s horn:
they’re women, hoping to follow the lead
of graduate Cristina Sanchez, who last
May became the first woman in Spain to
win the rank of matador.
But the village of Bunol has had
a better idea since 1932, when it banned
bullfighting as cruel and replaced a bullfighting
festival with a tomato fight.
About 20,000 people hurled an estimated
million tomatoes on August 28.
“No one has ever been seriously
injured at one of our tomato-throwing festivals,”
said town historian Fernando
Galarza. “This can be an example to the
rest of Spain that you can have fun at a
festival without killing animals and without
exposing yourself to real danger.”
An event of similar inspiration,
the eighth annual Labor Day Running of
the Sheep at Reedpoint, Montana, was
blighted when two days earlier a truck
crashed into a herd being moved to
Reedpoint, killing 21 and injuring eight.
About 5,000 people joined the run.

Geek shows

NEW YORK––NBC west coast
president Don Ohlmeyer on November 26
called the Fox Network quasi-documentary
When Animals Attack II “one step
short of a snuff film, as grotesque footage
as possible, stuff that we would never put
on the air.”
The Ohlmeyer statement followed
similar criticism by the UCLA
Center for Communication Policy.
Fox broadcast When Animals
Attack II twice during the November ratings
period, while CBC aired a similar
program, World’s Most Dangerous
Animals, and an episode of Dateline NBC
featured a bull goring a man.
Replied Fox flak Mark Kern,
“While Fox has had the most success with
this type of special, this is neither a new
genre nor a genre unique to Fox.”
Earlier, on October 1, near the
end of a three-year, $3.2 million contract
w i t hWild America producer Marty
Stouffer, PBS cancelled the series, in
belated response to a Denver Post s e r i e s
reporting allegations that Stouffer staged
fights between captive “wild” animals,
and filmed “wild” scenes in cages.
Perhaps taking a cue from Fox,
Milwaukee Access Telecommunication
Authority host Bob Swokowski recently
tried to hype his ratings by threatening
––for the second year in a row––to kill a
live goldfish in a blender Asked to vote
between 6:00 and 6:20 p.m., 116 viewers
tried to stop him; 112 egged him on.

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