Memorial - July 27, 2002
Back on July 27, there a memorial held for
the Greyhounds that were found in Alabama, and for all Greyhounds who have
died in the name of racing. Many people in many cities across the country
participated in this memorial. It was organized by GREY2KUSA.
Below is the speech that Marilyn Varnberg
wrote for the memorial held by her group, Greyhound Adoptions of FLA.
"My name is Marilyn Varnberg and I
represent Greyhound Adoptions of Florida. I am here tonight not only to
memorialize the thousands of greyhounds lost to us over the years, but to
give you a little information about our experiences with greyhound rescue.
While may adoption groups deal primarily
with retired racers, we have found that there are hundreds and hundreds of
greyhounds who never race. They are puppies who are deemed too slow or
have been injured as youngsters. There are countless brood moms on farms
all over this state who spend their lives producing puppies and then are
discarded. There are dogs who sustain a career ending injury on the track
who are immediately destroyed. When any greyhound no longer turns a profit
for its owner, it serves no purpose for the industry.
If a dog cannot find a place within an
adoption group, if it is not needed for breeding, it dies. The thousands
of greyhounds that died a lonely and frightening death in Alabama are only
the tip of the iceberg. How many more "Alabamas" exist that we know
nothing about? And how many more gentle greyhounds will have to die before
something is done?
His name is Rooster and he is two years
old. We were told he shattered his foot while racing and either we took
him or he would be euthanized. What we found was massive infection in his
left rear foot but no broken bones. Today this gentle boy is well on his
way to recovery and will soon be looking for a family of his own. He
stands here tonight, a survivor, telling you that he wanted to live... he
deserved to live and because someone cared, he was spared the fate of the
Alabama thousands and the multitude of greyhounds who never ever had a
chance. It is for Rooster and all the Roosters scattered across this
country that we continue our battle for the lives of this breed.
Since the end of March, Greyhound
Adoptions of Florida has taken in 36 injured or broken legged dogs from
the Orlando track. Each of those dogs would have been euthanized by an
uncaring industry because their money making days were over. Sadly, the
responsibility for these lives has fallen on our shoulders as there is no
owner responsibility involved... the financial and moral obligation does
not exist within the industry. We did not create this situation and yet we
are either expected to come forward and help these dogs or stand back and
continue to watch them being destroyed by the hundreds every week. This is
unacceptable to anyone with a conscience.
The time has come that the general
public be made aware of what we do and why we HAVE to do this. To look
into the eyes of a helpless animal and condemn it to death is an atrocity
that should not be. To try to imagine the horror that each gentle
greyhound felt as a gun was held to its head in Alabama is disgusting. To
know that the euthanasia needle is poised over a dog who has just broken a
limb while trying to make money for some human is abhorrent.
The Sport of Death
"Their bodies were
scattered," the paper read.
Lean, long-legged greyhounds,
A bullet in each head.
72 greyhounds were found that way
In a garbage-strewn lemon field
On a still winter day.
The dogs were so young -
most two or three
What crime did they do
That deserved this cruelty?
The judge was their trainer - the crime was, "Too slow."
The verdict was "Guilty,"
To the death field they'd go.
These trusting dogs were led there that day
By the trainer they'd worked for-
Their trust he'd betray.
Each greyhound was shot as their sentence that day.
For what humans call "Sport,"
What a price these dogs pay!
Written by Julie Shenk...
If a 15 year old girl has the wisdom and
compassion to write such a poem, why cannot the world see what is
happening to our beloved greyhounds?
Look around you at the greyhounds who
were lucky enough to be spared that ate and you will see what is good and
right... dogs who are part of a family, who are loved and cared for. But
at the same time remember that it was just luck for that particular dog
that gave him or her the chance to live. Thousands upon thousands of
others were not that lucky.
I lift my candle of remembrance high
tonight, to show the world that we will never forget those who died alone
and to remind the world that we will never cease our battle for the life
of each and every greyhound born. Raise your candle high to show every
greyhound who flies free above the earth that not all men are cruel...
that there are those of us who will continue to fight for their brothers
and sisters as long as we live, and they will not have died in vain.
To the Alabama thousands, and to all
that have gone before them, we ask for eternal peace. May they know that
they are not forgotten."
Marilyn Varnberg, copywrite 2002