PA Senate bill banning greyhound racing simulcasts advances

Pennsylvania already bans greyhound racing because of the advocacy of Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R., Bucks), but soon it may also ban greyhound racing simulcasts.

A Senate committee today approved a Greenleaf bill (SB 214) that would makes it a misdemeanor of the first degree for a person to transmit or receive interstate or intrastate simulcasting of a greyhound race for commercial purposes.

“While Pennsylvania has recently made great strides to protect animals, namely through the recently enacted legislation targeting puppy mills, we still have more work to do to ensure that animals are treated humanely,” said Greenleaf.

In a press release Greenleaf writes:

As of January 1, 2010, there were 26 greyhound race tracks operating in 8 U.S. states. (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia) Even though live greyhound racing is illegal in eight states, simulcasting is illegal in only five of these states. While many tracks have reduced or discontinued live races, some remain open for simulcast races.

The General Assembly should ban simulcasting for the same reasons it has banned live races. The racing industry still destroys an average of 9,000 greyhounds per year when they are no longer profitable. Approximately 14,000 are saved by rescue organizations that bear the cost of caring for these dogs—including medical expenses from injuries incurred while racing. A revolving baseline of 1,000 dogs is required to sustain a mid-sized racetrack operation. New greyhounds are continually entering the system to replace greyhounds that grade-off due to injury, age or poor performance. In 2007, 22,924 greyhounds were born; 20,227 were registered to race.