Thursday, 8 March 2012

Shame on the McGrath Foundation

I must express my disgust at a foundation that is doing great things, but totally going about it the wrong way. The McGrath Foundation is a charity established by Jane & Glen McGrath to support sufferers of breast cancer and to raise awareness of the disease. I wholeheartedly support this cause, as breast cancer has affected people in my life, like all forms of cancer – it is a horrible, invasive disease. Unfortunately, Jane lost her battle with cancer several years ago but this Foundation lives on in her name.

The McGrath Foundation decided to make the month of February the month of ‘Go the Pink Dog’ – where they teamed up with Greyhound Racing Victoria and raised money. Innocent enough you think? Well, unfortunately not.

As you may know, I recently became vegan (about 4 months ago, and I’m about 95% there, just clearing out the cupboard of various non-vegan items) – best decision of my life. It also means that I’m in the process of taking my blinkers off, and seeing the truth out there about exploitation and abuse of animals of all shapes, sizes and ‘makes’. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and am simply horrified of what really goes on in this big, bad world we live in.

Unfortunately, greyhound racing is one of the crueller things out there. Even though the McGrath Foundation claimed to have the support and backing from the RSPCA to support this campaign – in truth THIS WAS A LIE, and the RSPCA made a statement correcting this claim.

How can a bunch of tiny, thin dogs running after a fake rabbit be so bad?

Well, where do I start?

Injuries – The most common injuries are broken back legs, fractures and dislocations. Other reported injuries include cardiac arrest, spontaneous seizures, sudden collapse before or after racing, spinal cord paralysis, severed tails, bleeding toes, lacerated eyes, puncture wounds and broken necks.[1]

Amelia is one of the ‘lucky’ greyhounds. She sustained a significant wound that had been left untreated. She has undergone surgery and is now in the loving care of one of the most experienced foster carers who, being a Vet is able to provide the veterinary care and daily attention she requires.

WARNING – this first link shows the large wound on Amelia's back before being rescued by Friends of the Hound. Apparently from a dog bite suffered several weeks earlier – it was left untreated.

WARNING – this second link contains graphic images of Amelia after surgery.

WARNING – this third link contains graphic images of Amelia after surgery.

At one South Australian race meet on 26 February 2012, five greyhounds were injured; three were then killed by the on-track vet.

In fact, on Monday 21 February, a greyhound racing on a track in Tasmania broke his right hock - his owner chose for this dog to be put to death by the track vet, rather than let him live out his life as a pet. The dog's name was Whitney's World, he was two years old and he started from box 8, wearing a pink vest, as part of a campaign to raise money for The McGrath Foundation.

‘Disposal’ – It is not uncommon for unwanted dogs to be destroyed or abandoned with their ears cut off to prevent breeder and owner identification from their ear tattoos. It is estimated that 80% of the greyhound population ‘disappears’ once their career has ended (read: they stop making their owners money). Other common forms of disposal include drowning, beatings, and being shot.

But only a few of the estimated 20,000 greyhound pups born each year have the athletic capabilities and top speed to become a race winner. Bred for no other purpose than to race and win, many young and healthy greyhound dogs are discarded and killed without ever making it to the racing track.[2]

Simple abuse – Last year, an owner plead guilty to giving his greyhound cocaine (seriously).

Greyhounds are kept in tiny kennels, lack the social contact all dogs need and are pushed to their physical limits, soon to be unwanted and facing an uncertain future.  Information from greyhound rescue groups also indicates that many rescued racing greyhounds have been underfed, possibly because they have been kept on a restricted diet to keep them at a lean racing weight.[3]

There are literally thousands of people out there who oppose the McGrath Foundation supporting greyhound racing – and have tried contacting them asking them to reconsider this campaign. These people have been turned away, ignored and blocked from their Facebook page. I personally have been blocked as I wrote a comment about how I support their cause, but asking that they look into other ethical and humane ways to fundraise. What do you know – I’m now blocked.

Comments relating the greyhound racing on Facebook have been deleted (whether it be a negative or simply neutral comment about the practice) and anyone making these comments have been blocked – I bet those people who donate to the foundation must be really glad to know that their donations are being used to pay the salary of someone whose sole job is to delete Facebook posts. No kidding.

Apparently last year, Tracey Bevan didn’t even show up to collect a cheque for $125,000 (raised through Go the Pink Dog) due to the backlash of the Foundation supporting such a cruel practice. Yet, they do it all over again this year.

Fortunately there are other charities out there that fundraise through more ethical and moral ways – and who do not delete, ban or block people.



  1. Have you seen Pink Inc? I am highly critical of pink campaigning. This information just reinforces my view.

    1. No, I don't think I'm aware of Pink Inc. Post details if you could - would be interested in checking it out.

      I'm all for campaigning, raising awareness and fundraising - but so long as it's ethical, moral and respectable.

  2. I agree with your disgust over this campaign and am delighted that the McGrath foundation raised considerably less money this year than last year. Not an offical figure but I think I read the fundraiser only brought $25k this year. I'm hoping that this disappointing figure will make the McGrath Foundation reconsider and I also have been deleted off their Facebook page but they had the nerve to add me to their newsletter. Obviously I emailed them a stinky reply...

  3. Well done to the McGrath Foundation. Supporting these wonderful hounds and raising money. Well done.

    1. Well done to the McGrath Foundation? Did you read this blog post?

    2. I tossed up whether I delete this comment - but decided I wouldn't stoop to the level of the Foundation.

      But I will highlight the fact that you are a coward, posting anonymously - and you have just written this comment intending to infuriate and spark controversy.

      Grow up.

  4. Thank you for helping to show the plight of the racing Greyhound, I am appalled that the McGrath foundation used this barbaric industry to raise funds for its charity. YOU BET.....THEY DIE

  5. Greyhound Racing is Bad AlL the way around, any way you look at it. I could name hundreds of ways it adversely affects and/or kills the dog. After 18 years in rescue I keep thinking I have seen it all, but then something happens that surprises me yet. Close every track world wide!!

  6. PS Didnt mean to sign the last comment "Greyhound Racing is bad all the way
    around, as Anonymous.
    I am Virginia, founder of Greyhound Rescue of Idaho!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Veronica Thibodeau Tomlinson.9 March 2012 at 14:00

    Well it's interesting that Grey2k is critical of McGrath for blocking users...Grey2k did the same to me on Facebook. They removed my ability to post comments and 'like' other peoples posts on their page. Very disappointing considering all the work I've done in support of ending dog racing. It's also a little hypocritical.

    1. It may be your attitude. It seems you created drama on Villalobos Facebook page too.

    2. I agree, and now she's even deleted her fb page. So much for standing for what you believe in!

  9. Grey2k is all about "towing the company line". They (Christine Dorchak and Carey Theil) do not tolerate dissension among their ranks (just ask former board member Jan Krebs). If you even hint that there are a few compassionate greyhound owners / trainers / breeders, you're out the door. They prefer wide-eyed zombie-like adherence to their credo - "tiny cages - barely big enough to stand up or turn around". People are beginning to see Grey2k for the profit-based liars that they are.

  10. I like that there are several comments about that people are not stooping to the level of Mcgrath by deleting comments/banning users, just how many banned users are there on the Greyhound Racing Dont bet on it page, serious sensorship

    1. I like that you need to post anonymously.

      There is a difference between being offensive, and writing something to be controversial. If someone has been offensive, then absolutely delete the comments.

    2. I should add that in my case, the comment was neither. But as it did not conform with the McGrath Foundation's view, it was deemed offensive.

  11. Greyhounds are such beautiful dogs, with such beautiful natures. It's so shameful that we use animals for gambling and entertainment in this way. There has been a lot of eyes on charities over the last week with the whole Joseph Kony/nternational Children thing - hopefully a lesson everyone can take from both of these things is to never support a Charity that is not ethical and transparent with what they do.
    I'm going to now comment on the McGrath foundation page and see how long it takes me to get blocked

  12. Thanks for raising awareness of this issue. Charities should raise funds ethically. Greyhound Racing deliberately places dogs in harms way & kills those dogs for minor injuries like broken legs, along with killing 95% of 'surplus' healthy dogs each year.
    Unethical, unnecessary & unjust.

    I'm yet to meet an ex racing greyhound who has not suffered from broken bones, fractures, underweight, poor teeth & the resulting loss or utilised as a breeder with repeated AI performed (sometimes several in the same year) all because profit has been more important than the dog that made it.
    Only 1 was in good condition - & this trainer still 'dumped' the dog. The rest obviously came from kennels from their bald backsides where then cement met their bottoms, they were never socialised with other animals, never taught to play or share. They had never walked up stairs, didnt know what glass sliding doors were or been exposed to a normal home environment meaning that those in rescue took on the added role of socialiser as well as rehomer.

    If this industry was serious about the welfare of their dogs, they would not be breeding 24,000 p. yr in Aust, when they have full knowledge that only 5% are homed & they would ensure regulations that the future 5% bred for later homes were socialised and prior injuries paid for.

    But even then.. they would still be placing dogs in harms way every time they put them in an environment where they encourage them to run in an out of control fashion on tracks (circular) which ensure a huge increase in accidents on the bends.
    So Greyhound Racing cannot ever be ethical & therefore should be stopped & greyhounds can eventually go back to being the loved pets they were before 1926.

  13. I hope you find this interesting:

    1. Hi Aaron,

      Thanks for the link - yes, it's quite... interesting... when you read the comments and realise the attitudes of those supporting this horrendous industry.