This week, Florida residents voted overwhelmingly to end the cruel greyhound racing industry. Approximately 5.4 million voters supported Amendment 13, which will end commercial greyhound racing in the state by 2020. The initiative was accepted without any problems with 69% of voters.
Dogs exploited for the racing industry suffer badly. Greyhounds are kept in tiny, camp-style metal cages for 20 to 23 hours a day, often so small that dogs cannot stand up or turn around. Dogs are routinely drugged. To keep bitches going, they are regularly injected with anabolic steroids. And more than 400 racing greyhounds have tested positive for dangerous drugs like cocaine and oxycodone in the past decade.
While greyhound races still exist in a few states, Amendment 13 has dealt a serious blow to the industry as a whole. There are only 17 dog tracks in the United States – 11 of them in Florida. Even so, only a few Floridian greyhound races gave financial support. Over the past thirty years, tax revenue from dog racing has decreased by 98%. Additionally, a state-commissioned study found Florida loses more than $ 1 million annually because regulatory costs exceed revenue.
The reason the industry continued to exist despite losing the support of the vast majority of Floridians years ago is because of a 1997 law that required dog track owners to continue to offer dog races when they offer poker and slot machines. Amendment 13 repeals that law by banning racing and betting on live dog racing in Florida.