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On Tuesday’s ballot…

November 3, 2018

The American voters will be busy on Tuesday, electing U.S. Representatives, one-third of the Senate and weighing in on a boatload of races and propositions at the state and local level.

In Florida, they will be voting on whether to ban greyhound racing.

There are 17 greyhound race tracks left in the country; 11 of them are in Florida. If Constitutional Amendment 13 passes (and it needs the approval of 60 percent of the electorate to do so), greyhound racing in Florida will be phased out by the end of 2020 (though tracks could continue to do business as poker rooms).

As it is, greyhound racing has fallen on hard times; annual betting receipts have dropped from $3.5 billion in 1991 to around $500 million today. Those who support the amendment argue that greyhound racing is cruel, that many of the dogs are mistreated and that, once their productive racing careers come to an end, most dogs are neglected or simply euthanized.

Meanwhile, more than 90 greyhound adoption groups in the United States and Canada have formed a coalition, Greyhound Adopters for Racing, opposing Constitutional Amendment 13. These groups say the allegations of cruel, inhuman treatment are overblown and that continuing the business is in the dogs’ best interest.

I suspect that a constitutional amendment is unnecessary (and the antis have a point; if the measure passes, what is Florida going to do with the estimated 15,000 greyhounds currently racing or in training?). I can’t imagine a circumstance in which the sport regains its old popularity.  Constitutional Amendment 13 or no Constitutional Amendment 13, greyhound racing will be a thing of the past in 20 years.

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