As British bookmakers attempt to fend off the British Horseracing Authority’s attempts to prise more Levy money from their pockets, they’re openly musing about doing one-on-one deals with individual races and tracks, which is already common practice in the greyhound racing biz. However, they might not be so keen to associate themselves with the greyhounds after word spreads about a dog having tested positive for cocaine following a race at Wimbledon last month.
The owner of the dog (ironically named Droopys) has been brought up on charges, but in these cases, it’s the overall betting industry that ends up being punished. Shenanigans of this type invariably prompt reporters to unearth all manner of past indiscretions, such as the story of the UK’s David Smith, who helped tracks and owners ‘dispose’ of hundreds of greyhounds that either failed to make the grade or were simply worn out by years of racing and offered no possibility of further monetary reward for their owners. It’s an unfair analogy, perhaps, but we can’t help but noticing that there are no such stories circulating about men with bolt guns ‘disposing’ of Premier League footballers who’ve lost a step due to repetitive strain injuries to their knees or ankles. (But actually, now you’ve got us thinking…)
Contrast the ‘blow dog’ tale with another story, this one about the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA), a charitable organization looking to ensure that ‘retired’ racehorses get decent longterm care. Once a year, CARMA holds a Poker In Paradise fundraiser, which this year saw some 234 players raise over $70K for the cause. So, which one of these narratives do you want your company and/or industry associated with?
Calvin Ayre believes strongly in animal welfare, which is why he made it one pillar of his charitable organization, the Calvin Ayre Foundation. Over the years, the CAF has assisted, participated in or championed various initiatives, from helping Shannon Elizabeth’s Animal Avengers group hold a poker fundraiser or raising awareness about the vile practice of bear bile farming in Asia.
Across the globe, long-held opinions are changing on the use of animals in sport, whether it be dog or pony racing, rodeos in Alberta or (amazingly) bullfighting in Spain. Younger generations in particular are far less tolerant of the abuse of animals for either entertainment or profit, and betting outfits that utilize animals in racing need to take this into account if they want to be in business in the future.