Philippine opponents win a “hold” on greyhound racing with help of Massachusetts allies
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2009:
MANILA–The Philippine House of Representatives on September
7, 2009 “agreed to hold in abeyance its approval of a second
franchise for greyhound dog racing after animal protection groups
prevailed upon the Senate to defer action on the first franchise,”
reported Gil C. Cabacungan Jr. of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Romblon representative Eleandro Jesus Madrona “said the House
was forced to make the move after seven senators vowed to block the
introduction of greyhound racing in the country because it is
‘immoral’ and ‘cruel to animals,'” Cabacungan wrote. The Philippine
House approved the nation’s first greyhound racing franchise in
Actually, “Thirteen Senators sent pledges to vote no to the
introduction of greyhound racing in the Philippines,” e-mailed Anna
Nieves Cabrera of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society. Cabrera
added special thanks to Senator Jamby Madrigal and Cardinal Ricardo
J.Vidal of Cebu for helping to lead the campaign, and to the
Massachusetts-based anti-greyhound racing organization Grey 2K, for
rallying supprt beyond the Philippines.
Other groups backing the campaign included the Animal Kingdom
Foundation, Feathered Friends, Compassion And Responsibility for
Animals, and PETA/Asia.
“I am not only against animal cruelty but against gambling as
well,” said Madrigal, who took her greyhound Prasad with her to
speaking appearances and press conferences.
Grey 2K on September 18, 2009 celebrated the suspension of
live racing at the Valley Greyhound Park in Texas and the last day of
racing at the Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere, Massachusetts.
Opened in 1935, Wonderland was both the oldest and last greyhound
track in the state, where voters in November 2008 banned greyhound
racing, effective at the end of 2009.
The Belmont, Rockingham, and Seabrook greyhound tracks in
New Hampshire were authorized by the June 2009 state budget bill to
drop all live racing and operate exclusively as simulcast betting
The Twin River track in Rhode Island closed on August 8,
2009. The owners filed for bankruptcy in July 2009, after they were
not allowed to offer gambling without live racing. “We will now
introduce legislation to end dog racing as a matter of law,” said
Grey 2K cofounder Christine Dorchak.
Greyhound racing continues in the U.S. only in Alabama,
Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Texas, West Virginia, and
Wisconsin. Greyhound racing remains legal in Kansas, with three
licensed tracks, but the Camptown Greyhound Park has not run a race
since 2000, the Wichita Greyhound Park quit live racing in 2007,
and The Woodlands quit in 2008. “The state racing commission on
September 11, 2009 decided to give the owners of the three tracks
another 10 months to take steps to reopen their businesses before
they face losing their licenses,” said Associated Press writer John
Hanna. The track owners want the state to let them keep more of the
take from slot machines operated on the premises.
Financially struggling greyhound tracks in Pensacola,
Florida and Mobile, Alabama were in August 2009 purchased by the
Poarch Band of Creek Indians, subject to approval of the National
Indian Gaming Commission. The Poarch Band already operates three
electronic bingo halls. “The tribe in 2006 asked the U.S. Department
of Interior for permission to offer poker games at its facilities in
Alabama, but was denied,” recalled Associated Press writer Bob
Johnson. Buyng the tracks may offer the Poarch Band another way to
enter the poker business, but in Alabama they will be opposed by
anti-gambling Governor Bob Riley, noted Mobile Press Register staff
reporter Ben Raines.