Back to culture: why greyhound racing was attacked

Originally published at:

Despacito gets a kiss – the loving bond between greyhound and trainer. PIC: Paul Munt. THE remarkable thing about the English ruling classes is their cultural blindness. Every country they colonised they endeavoured to destroy the culture, sometimes out of malice but more often out of blindness to its strength, beauty and power. Every revolution…

As self serving smoke screens go Dr Fegan’s article about the “culture” of greyhound racing has got to be in the top five. I mean, come on, comparing a business enterprise with the clash of cultures in colonial India, or with the subjugation of Africa? Self aggrandize much? Dr. Fegan would have us believe the exploitation of innocent living creatures for profit is a “culture.” OK, Dr, Fegan, by that definition cannibalism is a culture. Murder for hire is a culture. Kidnapping for ransom is a culture.

Let’s be honest here, Dr. Fegan. This is just another attempt to move the discussion away from the fact that you kill greyhounds for profit. I understand you have no response when confronted with the institutionalized cruelty and callous barbarity that is greyhound racing, but to try and pass yourselves of as the noble every man under the thumb of The Man is a bit much, even for you.

I am a Board member of GREY2K USA.

Fred you are on your last warning here.

Do post another back link back to your site. It is trolling purely for SEO purposes.


How very ironic.

Grey2K comes on here inventing great injustices against animals but the posts are just faux outrage to plant backlinks to their website for commercial SEO reasons.

I would say that is the plight of animals for your own commercial benefit if I have ever heard it.


Dr Fagan has given a lifetime to Animal Welfare Science and is more than competitive with the contributing board member of the non for profit Greyhound focussed American Organisation.
Dr Fagan introduces cultural focus to the ongoing discussion on animal welfare reforms and this could be helpful. My research would suggest that the sport of Greyhound Racing is an inherited activity commencing from the difference in attitudes to hunting between the Ancient Britains and the general continent. America was settled in the New World well before the Greyhounds became a popular culture in the UK, so when Australia became a part of the New World the culture of greyhound racing (coursing) had shifted to the population generally. This meant that Australia had a large base of coursing activities welcoming in the mechanical hare racing.
The American’s are at present preoccupied in the the possibility of outside USA influencing the previous election of the President. The GREY2K intervention into Australian politics has cost the Country and political parties dearly so I think some humility needs to be shown by posters who wear the cloak of their association.
The animal welfare conversation needs to draw a line in the sand at past injustices, and welfare reform needs to continue.
There is an old saying that people work better under injustice.

Quite valid points from the author, especially about the breed itself.Being a breed of sighthound,the natural instinct is to chase and hunt.With the greyhound breed being over 2000 years old it would be hard to remove this instinct.
Ancient Greek philosophers revered the greyhound for being an efficient hunter during the day and being a loyal domestic companion of a night.Sir Joseph Banks brought a greyhound to Australia on the Endeavor to hunt for food once the ship had made land.Australian farmers have used greyhounds as “roo” dogs to keep kangaroos and pests out of farming paddocks.
With ingrained instincts not all greyhounds can retire from racing and become suburban domestic pets. Even rehoming societies and animal activist organizations freely state that at least 20% of greyhounds cannot be rehomed as domestic pets because of their prey drive.
With this in mind maybe the powers that be could consider widening the current range of homing options that currently exist for retired racing greyhounds.
Unfortunately that will probably not happen with the current government. To revisit the greyhound issue would be political suicide at the moment.

You could argue that a prey drive refers to most or maybe all breeds of canines. The evolution of the greyhound involves the speed of hounds chasing by sight. There were 18th century experiments recorded of attempts to cross mastiff with greyhounds failed probably because cross breeding (including mixes with other hounds) produced dogs that were uncompetitive with greyhounds and dogs that were too slow to chase hares.
Your post gets to the nub of the costs of preparing greyhounds for re homing and I would like to add to the conversation the various costs of rehoming.

  1. The English and Scottish Greyhound Retirement trust has over 60 branches and 1,000 volunteers and consistently prepares greyhounds 4,000 greyhound for re homing at what appears to be a cost of about $A 1500 per dog. The trust raises the expense through various activity and receives some limited funding (the trusts annual report is on the internet)

  2. The Cunnington report estimates the cost of preparing greyhounds for adoption (under our current system) varies from $A 3000 per dog to $A6,000. If 4,000 dogs per annum was the standard then the best case would be $12 million to worst case $24 million. PA.
    The worst case would be greyhounds with minimum social contact being prepared for clients with disposal income in the high income range.
    The cost of the English welfare trust model would involve a $2 million industry levy.
    Various country greyhound complex’a contain socialisation of greyhound facilities mainly at their carnivals.
    The most advanced proposal on the socialisation of greyhounds on tracks is the Gunnedah proposal of changing the use of the committee rooms and offices to produce a hospitality area adjoining the kennels for the joint hospitality of the connections on track with their greyhounds.
    The Cunnington proposal that the socialisation of greyhounds during their racing careers is financially viable as it reduces the cost to industry of re homing.
    The placement of retired greyhounds varies with the cliental base and your suggestion on the rehoming on farms etc carries a lot of weight as well.

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Fred knows it’s all about the SEO rankings and cash into the Grey2k pockets. These charlatans rake in more than a half million every year with their lies. Fred and his pals get a rise in their pants every time a greyhound is injured. Injuries that they exploit to pull in more cash.

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You know, I’m beginning to think you folks are just genetically incapable of sticking to a topic. Particularly when that topic is the fact that you kill greyhounds for money.

I note that you are a professor in the department of writing, rhetoric and American Culture and you are also the Secretary of your organisation. I am curious what benefit you hope to derive by acting as a simpleton.

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In the first half of the authors piece he has likened the ruling government of NSW with the Anglo-Saxon ruling class,which this government is predominantly made up of. The second half is about the the dog itself,it’s instincts and it’s limited rehoming options under this governments rules.
You,as a member of a rehoming organization, should be more positive with your input.Come to the table mate, what are you doing in USA. Where are you rehoming most of the retired racers?Is it in suburbia or rural?How do you organize adoption days?City by city? Do local councils help with any sponsorship? If you want to help greyhounds in any way, be positive.
As for trying to demonize a sport by incessantly pushing the injury card, I believe you have a range of other sports with massively higher injury rates that end careers, including the beloved game of American Football.

The benefit I hope to derive is simple (see what I did there?). Get greyhounds out of harm’s way and stop their exploitation.

I am positive. Positive I want greyhound exploitation to end. As for adoption, it is only a stopgap measure. To be quite blunt about it, people who adopt are just picking up your trash. You use greyhounds, then throw them away and expect people with hearts to take them off your hands. It will never stop as long as you are allowed to profit from the lives of these dogs.


Australian institutions members are subject to codes of conduct and the "ends justify the means " is not a defence.
With indulgence of the moderator I would like to expand the topic to include differences in the American Culture to the Australian Culture and why the Government initially got into such a mess in NSW.

The basic related cultural differences between the two countries in general and in relation to Greyhound Racing stems from the different times that the countries came under European occupation.

The New world opened in the late 16th century and New South Wales (Australia) was settled around the time that America got its independence and Greyhound Racing (Coursing) became public (late 18th Century).

Australia was essentially under British Law in the Commonwealth through the Appeal rights to the English Privy Council until 1975 (Federal) and later in 1980’s.

The fundamental difference in the cultures allowed the massive take up in Australia of Coursing early in comparison to the USA.

The fundamental difference in our two cultures appears to be the fundamental differences between Prohibition and Moderation. This divide has religious cultural roots as well.

The banning of the Communist Party in 1950’s was found to be unconstitutional by our high court and the referendum to allow the constitution to be amended was defeated by the people. This did not mean that the Country turned communist as feared by the American press but it was simply an expression of the Australian people and their abhorrence off prohibition.

The American Prohibition of Alcohol (The Noble Experiment 1919 - 1933) did not lead to the country being alcohol free and animal welfare will not be guaranteed by extreme actions.

In the US we call that cherry picking. You use examples that support your premise while conveniently ignoring those that don’t. For instance, you talk about coursing but conveniently ignore the invention of the mechanical lure in 1905 which really was the birth of the racing industry and the beginning of the era of greyhound commodification for profit. You also ignore the fact that cultures change over time. For example, in both the US and Australia at one time women couldn’t vote. Now they can. Cultures evolve towards fairness and equality. As Dr. Martin Luther King once said "“Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The cultural argument does not favor the continuation of greyhound racing.

I’m still hesitant to accept the cultural argument. Greyhound racing is a business that happens to exploit, injure and kill innocent living animals. Unless you want to argue that institutionalized cruelty, callous commodification and the willful infliction of pain and suffering are part of your cultural you’d best try a new tack.

Looks like you are "cherry picking " with your historical examples.
As for exploitation, where are you coming from?When the starting box lids are sprung the dogs aren’t forced to do anything, they can just stand there if they want. They are sighthounds,they chase because they want to,not because they are being forced. As a canine breed,greyhounds are very independent, they will totally ignore a human if their mind is somewhere else.
As for institutional cruelty, don’t you think that vetinarians would be reporting this if they had evidence.I don’t believe they are bound by doctor-patient confidentiality like human doctors.
As for callous commodification,look no further than the mega rich owners of your idolised sporting teams.Once a player has reached their use by date, or sustains injury that deminishes their ability,they are delisted,sacked, traded,in other words removed from the organization.
Blanket bans on activities and pursuits might be what you are advocating for,but rest assured most of the democratic world abhores prohibition and wholesale banning.
Your constant dribble does nothing for the credibility of the organization you represent.


Thanks for conceding that you are only hesitant to accept the cultural argument and for mentioning the woman vote. Australia is proud of the following. Australian suffragettes.

In 1902, Australia was the first country in the world to give women both the right to vote in federal elections and also the right to be elected to parliament on a national basis

Greyhound Racing in both Australia and New Zealand are run by non for profit organisations under Government control while most Greyhound clubs in the USA are run by private enterprise.
As you say cultures evolve and so do cultures involved with animal rights and racing.
I agree that the greyhound community needs to be responsible for its retired greyhounds and regard the English and Scottish Greyhound Retirement Trust as the best template to achieve the animal welfare reforms.

Of course greyhounds like to run, but you put them in an artificial (and dangerous) environment and make them do it for money–your money. That’s the very definition of exploitation for crying out loud. As for professional athletes, I’d like you to compare the retirement plan of a professional athlete who injures himself or herself and retires with the retirement plan of a greyhound that gets injured. An institution that’s based on the commodification of innocent living creatures for profit and an institution that disposes of those creatures when they are no longer profitable is an institution that is inherently cruel.

Well, greyhound racing in the US is also under government control, and non-profit is an accounting term that describes how profits are to be reported and distributed. Kudos on the women and voting thing though.


The best explanation on the difference between the American and Australian Culture was given by Dr Gillette as a guest speaker at the forum of the Greyhound Breeders and Owners Association. Prompts to his site are listed below if you are interested.

Not for profit greyhound clubs and organisations are also required to be non propriety in Australia. The running of these organisations as a quasi business where the profits are distributed as wages can lead to the cancellation of both the racecourse licence and the club licence to race greyhounds.

The argument you advanced re not for profits was advanced by Jack Lang (Premier). at the start of Mechanical Hare racing in NSW in the early years. A Royal Commission recommendations that all racing in NSW was to be non propriety was adopted after the first five years and an appointed officer (independent) was responsible to audit the clubs and associations for compliance.