Airplane Ad Over Kentucky Derby Urges Churchill Downs to End Ties to Dog Racing
Company’s Support of Dog Racing Sparks “TwinSpires Cruelty” Campaign
ARLINGTON, Mass., May 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The largest greyhound protection group in the world announced it will fly an airplane banner advertisement over the 149th Kentucky Derby, to inform the public that gambling operator Churchill Downs, and its online betting service, TwinSpires, is the last major corporation propping up dog racing in the United States.
“If Churchill Downs takes its own corporate social responsibility policy seriously, it will stop supporting an activity that is out of step with mainstream American values,” said GREY2K USA President and General Counsel Christine A. Dorchak. “Churchill Downs and its subsidiary, TwinSpires, are propping up the final remnants of an industry that is responsible for the confinement, deaths and abuse of thousands of dogs. Such greed is unacceptable in today’s increasingly humane economy.”
In January, GREY2K USA launched an educational website, TwinSpiresCruelty.org, to educate the public about Churchill Downs’ involvement in greyhound racing. It has since reached out to major investors of the company, including the single largest shareholder, Fidelity Investments, with a request that they divest their holdings in Churchill Downs, Inc. (CHDN). Meanwhile, a Change.org petition that urges Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen to cease offering dog racing on its platform has been signed by nearly 43,000 people.
“We believe there is reputational risk for any company that continues to align itself with greyhound racing,” said Dorchak. “We are especially concerned that TwinSpires is offering races from Agua Caliente on its betting platform. Caliente is a Tijuana-based dog track with no animal welfare standards that is owned by a controversial figure with alleged ties to organized crime.”
Most gambling on dog racing now occurs over the internet. In 2022 the largest competitor to Churchill Downs, TVG, removed dog racing from its platform, leaving Churchill Downs as the largest remaining purveyor of greyhound wagering in the United States.
“The companies that are partnering with Churchill Downs, should ask themselves whether they want to be associated with a demonstrably cruel industry,” said Dorchak. “Even the company that owns the last two remaining dog tracks, Delaware North, has publicly announced it is losing money on the activity and supports ending the state mandate for greyhound racing.”
Greyhound racing is illegal in 42 states, and only continues to exist at two tracks in West Virginia. After dog racing gradually declined for decades, Florida voters outlawed the activity in 2018 in a vote of 69% to 31%, closing twelve operational racetracks. A bill to prohibit gambling on greyhound racing nationwide was introduced in the 117th Congress and earned the support of 105 cosponsors and more than 250 humane groups, anti-gambling organizations and local animal shelters.
All mainstream animal protection groups oppose greyhound racing due to animal welfare concerns. At the last two remaining dog tracks in West Virginia, state records indicate that 666 greyhounds were injured in 2022 including 218 dogs that suffered broken bones and four greyhounds that died. Thousands of dogs also endure lives of confinement at West Virginia tracks, kept in cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around for long hours each day.
About GREY2K USA Worldwide
Formed in February of 2001, GREY2K USA is the largest greyhound protection organization in the United States with more than 300,000 supporters. As a non-profit 501(c)4 organization, the group works to pass stronger greyhound protection laws and end the cruelty of dog racing on both national and international levels. GREY2K USA also promotes the rescue and adoption of greyhounds across the globe. For more information, go to www.GREY2KUSA.org or visit GREY2K USA on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Contact: Christine A. Dorchak, Esq., 617.981.0490, [email protected]
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SOURCE GREY2K USA
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