Target: Administrator Kevin Shea, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Goal: Ban the use of unsafe meat as food in greyhound farms and racing kennels
All over the country, racing greyhounds and retired dogs used as breeding stock are fed a diet of meat mixed with kibble and supplements. Unfortunately most greyhound racing tracks see trainers and owners using “4-D” meat, whose name refers to its source in dying, diseased, disabled, and dead livestock that is considered unfit for consumption by humans. Eating “4-D” meat can expose dogs to a myriad of nasty bacteria and pathogens, including E. coli and Salmonella, as well as residue from antibiotics and other drugs fed to livestock. Furthermore the Department of Agriculture requires companies to distinguish “4-D” meat from meat that is safe for human consumption by adding denatured charcoal. Not only does this meat have negative implications for the health of the dogs that are forced to eat it – it also endangers the health of the humans who prepare this so-called food.
Racing greyhounds at every track in the United States are fed “4-D” meat simply because it is so much cheaper than high-quality meat. Owners and trainers justify the use of this hazardous meat by saying that commercial pet food manufacturers also use it, but the difference is that racing greyhounds are fed this meat raw, with no effort to kill the pathogens by cooking the meat. The reason for this is that they believe cooking the meat will affect dogs’ performance on the track – yet no one seems to mind that “4-D” meat could cause their dogs to host dangerous bacteria and painful illnesses. In other words, this industry operates as a factory, preferring to treat greyhounds as disposable machines instead of valued workers.
By signing this petition, you are calling on the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Administrator Kevin Shea to introduce thoughtful legislation to end the practice of feeding greyhounds “4-D” meat and other hazardous meat.
Dear Administrator Kevin Shea of APHIS,
The recent illnesses of about a hundred racing greyhounds at Daytona Beach Kennel Club resulted in the deaths of two dogs who should not have had to die. These illnesses are thought to be the result of a pathogen in the dogs’ food, a large part of which consists of meat that is not considered safe for humans to consume. Greyhound tracks all over the country use “4-D” meat from dying, diseased, disabled, and dead livestock, which often carries residues from antibiotics and other drugs as well as dangerous bacteria and pathogens. This seems like the sort of obvious place where greyhound trainers should not be cutting corners. Yet the health of the dogs appears not to concern them, as they refuse to even cook the meat to remove the deadly bacteria; they worry cooking the meat will slow dogs down on the racetrack.
I urge you and APHIS to bring forward a thoughtfully researched and written proposal to ban the use of “4-D” meat in the greyhound racing industry. While ending the industry altogether might be a tough sell in Congress right now, banning the use of “4-D” and other unsafe meat from being used as food for animals like racing greyhounds seems like a no-brainer. If humans shouldn’t be eating this meat, neither should our animal companions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Rainer Hungershausen via Flickr