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Florida voters to head to the polls to decide greyhound racing future

Florida greyhounds
WHEN Florida voters go to the polls to decide on the USA‘s mid-term elections in November, they’ll also have the fate of the state’s greyhound racing industry in their hands.

The future of live dog racing will be on the ballot — a proposed amendment in the constitution aims to close 11 greyhound racing venues in Florida.

The campaign will see animal rights activists go up against trainers, owners and fans of the greyhound industry, who fear the loss of jobs and a sport with more than 100 years worth of history in the state.

Florida is the last real bastion of greyhound racing in the USA and if the ballot succeeds, most expect it will be the final death knell for the sport.

11 of the country’s 17 tracks are in Florida, employing an estimated 3,000 people and racing roughly 8,000 greyhounds in a 6-month racing season.

Speaking to Naples News this week, former greyhound trainer and chairman of the Committee to Support Greyhounds, Jennifer Newcome, said the future of the sport was firmly on the line.

“With Florida holding two-thirds of the tracks in the country, (amendment approval) would put racing on a path to be decimated,” Newcome said.

“We’re proud of our dogs.”

“If the dogs were abused or misfed, they wouldn’t be a successful racer.”

Newcome, like many of her colleagues all around the world, would be well aware that greyhound racing is a sport that is under threat.

Greyhound racing is under serious threat in two of its traditional homelands, Ireland and Australia, where calls to ban the practice have had mixed success.

A New South Wales state government decision to ban the sport gained world-wide attention in July, 2017 before eventually being overturned after public outcry.

Greyhound racing has already been banned in many US states and in more countries in Europe.