The Summer issue....


LETTER FROM SIGHTHOUND REVIEW'S EDITOR

 

It has stormed around Sighthound Review recently. Several fanciers have asked why SR turned down paid advertising promoting the racing Greyhound business in Florida, one of the few states in the U.S. that still conducts Greyhound racing with betting - although a proposition to outlaw it may be put on the November ballot. 

 

We offered to publish an ad promoting hobby racing. This was rejected, naturally, since the group behind the ad represents the commercial Greyhound racing business.

 

Anyone who knows Greyhounds will be aware that they love to run, even with the risk of serious injuries. No doubt many individuals in the racing business take good care of their dogs, at least as long as they run profitably, although living conditions are often unacceptable to those of us who don't believe dogs should be confined in small kennels. Also, although great advances have been made in the re-homing of ex-racers, any activity that discards dogs not yet past half their lifespan can hardly be in it, as claimed, “for the love of the dogs.” 

 

However, what ultimately makes it clear that commercial dog racing has a dark side is that the figures simply do not add up. Greyhound bitches on the average produce 6-8 puppies per litter, sometimes more, and those that do not make the grade as racers are discarded. Many are adopted, and things are much better than in the bad old days when over 20,000 racing Greyhounds were killed per year, but even the current figure of around 2,000 (according to the industry numbers) is way too high. Anti-racing groups claim that the number is closer to 12,000. 

 

I would like to believe that the individuals who submitted the ad were in good faith, believing in their own story. However, the abuse heaped upon me and Sighthound Review for refusing to publish the ad makes this difficult to believe. It's nice to know that many of the comments (about 50% of the total) have been supportive, however.

 

If this stance is unpopular and puts us on the same side as a few organizations we do not otherwise support, too bad. I do not believe that we will have much impact on decisionmakers if we consistenly are FOR whatever the animal-rights extremists are AGAINST, regardless of merit. The fact that they are against bull fighting does not mean that the rest of us should not also be against bull fighting, for instance.

 

It was never in SR's mission to take a stance on corporate dog racing; a very hot button topic in the dog world. The magazine has been my way of communicating a personal fascination with Sighthounds. I believe our readership values the content that SR delivers. My interest in publishing this publication is the same now as it was when I started it more than 34 years ago. 

 

Consequently, as Editor-in-Chief, I will continue to promote a well-rounded, multi-talented Sighthound, one that can succeed on the field as well as in the show ring, and ideally also in the myriad other activities that today are open to our dogs. Above all, the Sighthound I love, regardless of breed, is always a beloved companion.

 

I am well aware that not all Sighthound fanciers keep their dogs in the manner they deserve. This does not alter my conviction that dog shows are, in fact, essentially "good for dogs." There are exceptions, but in general show dogs are much better socialized than most other dogs. Any vet, for instance, will tell you that show dogs are much easier to treat than most other dogs. 

 

However, it is my firm conviction that commercial Greyhound racing in spite of many improvements in recent years will always remain outside the true Sighthound lover's realm of interest.

 

I will not be able to discuss this subject individually. Time's just too short!

 

Thanks for reading this. Now go hug your dogs.

 

Sincerely,

 

BO BENGTSON

Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Sighthound Review

P.O. Box 10

Ojai, CA 93024

sighthoundreview@impulse.net




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