Floridians to Decide the Fate of Greyhound Racing on November 6

The mission of the Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA) is to advance the veterinary medical profession, promote animal health and well-being, and protect public health.  The very heart of the FVMA’s mission is to “promote animal health and well-being.

The FVMA’s policy on animals in entertainment, shows and for exhibition mirrors that of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA). The policy supports the humane and ethical use of animals in spectator events, shows, exhibitions, motion pictures and television in accordance with existing federal, state and local animal protection laws. Examples of such events include, but are not limited to, animal exhibitions, sporting and racing events, field trials, polo, rodeo and the use of animals for any audiovisual media.

The FVMA further encourages all organizations involved in such events to develop and abide by guidelines or standards that ensure humane treatment, respect for the animal, appropriate veterinary care, and veterinary oversight of the animals before, during and after such events.

Every veterinarian upon entering the profession takes the following oath: “I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge. I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics. I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.”

The FVMA strongly objects to statements that imply that veterinarians are willfully complicit in promoting cruelty or inhumane conditions in caring for greyhounds. Florida veterinarians caring for greyhounds comply with Florida law and regulatory oversight to ensure the safety and humane care of racing greyhounds, and conscientiously work to protect greyhound health and welfare and prevent and relieve animal suffering.

Amendment 13 (prohibition on racing of and wagering on greyhounds or other dogs) is a proposed amendment on the ballot from the Florida Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) which was ruled “misleading and inaccurate and incomplete” by the Leon County Circuit Court. It remains on the ballot due to the recent ruling by the Florida Supreme Court which overturned the Circuit Court’s ruling. If passed, it would permanently ban greyhound racing in Florida by December 31, 2020. This amendment as written makes no provision for the 8,000 greyhounds that would be affected. The Florida Legislature has considered this issue several times but failed to pass legislation banning racing.

This issue is contentious and emotionally charged on both sides. Proponents of Amendment 13 claim that racing greyhounds are not properly cared for and are housed in improper conditions. Opponents of Amendment 13 close to the greyhound industry and kennels insist that the dogs are well cared for and conditions are much different than what is being portrayed in the media. Furthermore, current Florida law provides for criminal prosecution of all persons who keep dogs in abusive or neglectful conditions, including those participating in greyhound racing. The racing greyhound industry is subject to multiple levels of legislative and regulatory oversight and drug testing to ensure the protection of these animal athletes.

We encourage the public to thoughtfully and critically research the claims both for and against Amendment 13 so that Florida voters can make an informed decision when casting their vote regarding the amendment.

The FVMA will always work to promote animal health and well-being and actively work to prevent and relieve animal suffering.

The Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA) was founded in 1928, and is ranked third in size in veterinary medical associations in the United States with more than 5,800 members. FVMA incorporated the Florida Equine Practitioners Association (FAEP) as the equine-exclusive division of the Association in March 2011, and relocated to a new, larger association headquarters in Orlando in May 2013.

The mission of the Florida Veterinary Medical Association is to advance the veterinary medical profession, promote animal health and well-being, and protect public health.