The July 18 online edition of Fosters.com, a service of New Hampshire’s Foster’s Daily Democrat, featured a letter from former AGTOA President and long-time track operator Karen Keelan. In the letter, Keelan set the record straight on the subject of the state legislature’s recent action to ban live racing.
Here is Keelan’s letter in its entirety.
I am deeply saddened by the action of the New Hampshire Legislature and our governor in banning greyhound racing from the state (July 9, "Groups applaud end of greyhound racing").
As someone whose family has been involved in this sport in New Hampshire and Massachusetts for many years, I took great pride in our race tracks. I was proud that our family-run businesses were contributing hundreds of jobs, millions of dollars in payroll and tax revenues, and great entertainment for people who loved watching greyhounds run.
I also took great pride in our greyhound adoption programs, which were among the most successful in the industry. Working with dozens of dedicated volunteers, we made sure that every retired greyhound found a loving adoptive home.
But best of all, I had a chance to work with the most amazing dogs in the world. Even when our track was losing money, I loved my job because I loved being around the greyhounds. I was raised to appreciate, respect and care for them. I still do, and I always will.
Greyhound racing in New Hampshire is history now, but state residents should not be deceived about the reasons. It wasn’t about greyhound injuries, which occur in fewer than one-half of one percent of all racing starts. It wasn’t about greyhound care at the track, which must be first-rate in order for greyhounds to race at their best.
The decision to ban greyhound racing was about economics, pure and simple. In recent years, gambling competition has greatly increased. Greyhound racing has found it difficult to keep up with the explosion in high-tech casino gaming and online wagering. This made us easy targets for animal rights extremists looking to ban greyhound racing completely.
Animal rights groups won’t stop there, however. New Hampshire dairy, egg and meat producers will be next on their hit list. I hope the farm community fares better than we did.