Florida voters have decided that Greyhound Racing will no longer be allowed in their state.
In the Nov. 6 election, an overwhelming 69 percent of Floridians approved Amendment 13, which calls for the closing of all remaining Greyhound racing tracks in the state by 2020.
“The historical consequences of this are incredibly significant,” said Carey Theil, executive director of GREY2K USA, the largest greyhound protection organization in the world. “We’re seeing one of the highest approvals of any animal welfare measure in the nation.”
Eleven Greyhound tracks remain open in Florida, while there are only 17 left in the entire United States. As they prepare to shutter the doors, the tracks will likely concentrate their business on card games and slot machines, the Orlando Weekly reports, which already brings in a majority of their income.
During the election, Amendment 13’s passage was backed heavily by GREY 2K USA and other animal rights advocates, the Orlando Sentinel reports, while the tracks, and several greyhound adoption groups, fought against it.
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Along with being kept in cramped cages, and forced through grueling physical exercise, in the last decade, at least 419 Greyhounds have tested positive for illegal drugs, including cocaine.
In 2017 alone, there were multiple cases of dogs testing positive for cocaine. At least 12 were found at a single Greyhound track, the Bestbet Orange Park race track near Jacksonville.
According to Attorney General Pam Bondi, Greyhound racing is “a black eye on our state.”
By 2020, that black eye will have healed.
“Because of the decisions of millions of Florida voters, thousands of dogs will be spared the pain and suffering that is inherent in the greyhound racing industry,” Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States told the Orlando Sentinel. “We are so grateful to the volunteers, campaign members, coalition partners, contributors and endorsers who came together in support of this historic effort to end the cruelty of greyhound racing.”
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