to think greyhound racing is no place for a 1yr old.

(44 Posts)
wanderingcloud Fri 01-Feb-13 01:02:01

DSIL is having a significant birthday celebration. It's about an hour and a half drive from us to the venue. We're all going (forcibly - pain of death from MIL for suggesting otherwise) that is DH, 1yr old DS and I.

I had suggested getting a hotel nearby for the night as I think a three hour round trip with the baby is too much for one evening but DH (rightly) says we can't really afford it. So I reluctantly agreed to go there and back for one evening, thinking it's a family party and that rest of the family will be there, kids in tow, so it might not be too bad.

DH leaves it tonight to tell me that it's actually greyhound racing that we're going to and that no-one else is taking their kids. I'm so annoyed. I've never been to the dogs so no idea what it's like but my gut instinct is that it isn't really the place for a toddler. Especially if no-one else will have kids there! AIBU???

CherryJubilee Fri 01-Feb-13 01:05:08

I would double check if you are even allowed to bring a child.

Longdistance Fri 01-Feb-13 01:12:06

I took my dd's to the races (horse) on New Year's Day. They're 3.4 and 19 mo.

They had a blast. Watching the horses at the finish post. It was an afternoon thing. I took food, drinks, and toys to keep them occupied.

If you don't want to take your dc, then don't.

We just make our dd's portable and drag them everywhere with us grin

Bottleoffish Fri 01-Feb-13 01:12:38

It's not a place for anyone IMO, there are vile animal cruelty practices surrounding this 'sport' and thousand of cast of dogs in rescue or being killed by unqualified people when their racing days are over.

Ywbu to go at all.

wanderingcloud Fri 01-Feb-13 01:23:33

bottleoffish my DSM has a retired greyhound and she has told me many horrendous stories which is one reason I have never been, and probably why no-one told me sooner what the plan was.hmm

longdistance DH seems to think DS will also love it but this is an evening event, surely people won't be expecting a very young toddler to be there?

ClaudiaSchiffer Fri 01-Feb-13 01:41:39

er, babysitter and leave the baby at home?

TigerLily89 Fri 01-Feb-13 01:44:47

Don't be so bloody judgmental bottlefish

Longdistance Fri 01-Feb-13 01:57:51

If its an evening thing, I wouldn't take my dd's at all.

Either don't go, or get a babysitter.

Actually, if i was you, I wouldn't go at all. Especially as you feel so strongly about how the grey hounds are treated.

Pretty shitty of them not to say anything beforehand, as they probably knew how you'd feel about it.

Longdistance Fri 01-Feb-13 01:58:57

Or, Let take your ds, and you can have a night off grin

Longdistance Fri 01-Feb-13 01:59:40

Let your dh take ds stupid iPad

i agree with bottleoffish - i personally couldn't bring myself to attend, & there's no way my children would be going either.

kittyandthegoldenfontanelles Fri 01-Feb-13 02:40:56

Agree with bottleoffish too. I wouldn't worry about refusing to go for this reason either.

HollyBerryBush Fri 01-Feb-13 06:54:43

Our grehound stadium has a lovely restaurant and people have children there all the time

wigglesrock Fri 01-Feb-13 07:03:30

I used to work in one. Not my idea of fun but there was a restaurant that lots of people had family functions in. But there were very few baby facilities, no highlands, no changing tables in loos etc. It was also noisy.

wigglesrock Fri 01-Feb-13 07:04:46

highchairs not highlands.

whois Fri 01-Feb-13 07:13:15

I went once a couple of years ago and there were loads of children. They looked like they were having fun playing together and watching the races, although this was summer so they were outside running around.

malteserzz Fri 01-Feb-13 07:22:17

I would send dh on his own or look into getting a cheap hotel nearby so you can put ds to bed if he gets tired, travel lodge and premier inn do £19 rooms

Bottleoffish Fri 01-Feb-13 07:32:05

tigerlily how is it judgemental to think a sport enlists cruel practices and leaves many thousands of dogs killed inhumanely and discarded?

OP glad you knew about this, perhaps you can use it as an excuse to not go?

Psammead Fri 01-Feb-13 07:47:05

I've been once and it was quite suitable for children. We just sat in a glass-sided restaurant and the waitress took our bets etc. It was fun as a one off thing.

However, I had no idea about the cruelty involved shock

SpacegirlRevisited Fri 01-Feb-13 07:52:20

Not a great place for a little one and quite a late night.Probably quite hard work for you too trying to keep everyone happy.

I am involved in the retirement and sometimes rescue of former racing greyhounds. Over the years I have dealt with trainers/owners who have been very responsible in the resettlement of their greyhounds.

Sadly I have dealt with many many more who have inflicted inhumane and horrific practices upon the dogs either to during their racing career or to avoid detection when they dump them after they stop competing well in races.Ever seen a dog with its ears cut off so that the identifying tattoos cant trace the dog back?

atacareercrossroads Fri 01-Feb-13 07:54:32

I'll be honest, I can think of only a few places worse than the dogs even without a baby! Cold (inside seating gets taken up), inedible food, overpriced drinks, cold, boring, expensive, cold, loud, cold, oh and not forgetting the moral aspects of it.

I wouldn't say its a suitable place for a baby at all tbh.

atacareercrossroads Fri 01-Feb-13 07:58:15

And op I've caused many a rift with the family because I refuse to go to a dog track. Just as well that I don't give a shit.

fluffyraggies Fri 01-Feb-13 08:12:18

Exact same situation as you not long ago OP! Right down to the fact that i didn't know till the last minute it was Ghound racing and i don't really agree with it.

Older children involved though.

It was an evening do. It was a long night for all of us tbh, with the drive there and back too, but it was an ok evening.

No place for a 1 year old though. It was noisy and crowded and the upper levels near the bar were almost nightclubby. There were family's there in the eating/seated areas but the children were all 10ish or over.

I put all our winnings plus an extra £10 in the bucket for the campaign against grey hound racing in the car park on the way out.

PILs and SIL were hmm
DH and DD were smile

freddiefrog Fri 01-Feb-13 08:38:42

I'm with bottleoffish too. I just wouldn't go

My parents had several retired greyhounds when I was growing up and the cruelty is horrendous.

Samu2 Fri 01-Feb-13 08:41:48

My mum's ex boyfriend used to race greyhounds and the dogs had great lives. When his got too old or whatever for racing he kept them as family pets.

They were all loved and well looked after.

I used to take my little ones. There was a restaurant and a bar and it was great fun, no one was getting drunk of anything, lovely atmosphere and regular customers.

fluffyraggies Fri 01-Feb-13 08:46:41

OP maybe it depends on the stadium/time of day/day of week?

Which one are you going to? The one we went to was Wimbledon Track, Sat. eve. The atmosphere was good, don't get me wrong, i just wouldn't have wanted a 1yo there.

Samu2 Fri 01-Feb-13 08:47:08

www.gbgb.org.uk/TheTruthAboutRacing.aspx

I just did a very quick google search and some of the stuff I read was horrid which I had never heard about before.

Then I came across this website which matches my experiences of living with a racer so now I don't know what to think.

countrykitten Fri 01-Feb-13 08:47:16

It is a disgusting and cruel 'sport'. There is no way on this earth that I would go myself or take any of my children to such a spectacle. Google what happens to greyhounds - how they live and how they die - and then make a stand on animal cruelty grounds quite apart from anything else.

I work with many dog rescues as a volunteer and can say with absolute confidence that the situation that Samu2 describes is very, very rare.

Don't go - don't give them your money.

countrykitten Fri 01-Feb-13 08:48:50

Samu2 - your family clearly looked after their dogs. As I said before, they are in the very tiny minority. It's such a sad and horrible 'business'.

wanderingcloud Fri 01-Feb-13 09:03:37

Thanks for your thoughts. Calmed down a touch this morning but still not happy!

As someone who's never been I have no frame of reference so it's interesting to see some think it might be ok situation for a child.

I'm really not happy attending for the cruelty reasons, it goes against my core principles, DH family already think I'm bonkers in that regard so they wouldn't be surprised.

I'm mostly hmm and angry at DH as he almost certainly knew I wouldn't be happy and deliberately didn't tell me the full plans until we were committed to attending.

atacareercrossroads Fri 01-Feb-13 09:13:59

You haven't committed to anything. You just say "Nah not my thing, but have a lovely time". So what if you get the hairy eyeball for a bit? They'll get over it.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Fri 01-Feb-13 09:24:30

With bottlefish. When we had our first retired greyhound (he'd been a stray for months after being abandoned) we once took him to a fun day hosted by the rescue charity at a local dog racing track. He found the crowds a bit much so we took him off for a little walk around the grounds. There was a ditch running around the perimeter, and in the ditch was a greyhound skeleton. Absolutely true. No idea how he died, but it does illustrate the attitude that some owners have towards their dogs.

We share our lives with four ex racing greyhounds and I spend a huge amount of my time doing voluntary work for greyhound charities. There are some hugely responsible and caring owners (I've got to know several) - no doubt. However, these are more than outweighed by the systemic cruelty and wastefulness of the industry which sees dogs as a commodity, overbreeds, and sadly most of the dogs are not worth enough to justify vet treatment if they get ill. The sums simply do not add up - from the pups that are registered, many simply "disappear" from the industry during training, trials and racing if tehy are no good. And sadly all these dogs are NOT ending up by a cosy fireside in retirement. If you are up to it, Google Last Hope - a Welsh Greyhound, shot in the head and left to die because he wouldn't run fast enough. Just our four hounds, if I were to share their stories in detail would make you weep. One was forced to do 67 races in 18 months. Then she was found by the charity, abandoned and starving. One is still terrified of men he does not know and flinches if he sees belts, even ties angry. I could go on, but won't. OP stick to your guns and don't go, and please don't take your DC.

Quilty Fri 01-Feb-13 09:36:32

No YANBU. Even without the issue of having to take a 1 year old, personally I would tell them I'm not coming because I don't agree with it. I think its an awful 'sport' and with all the outcry in this country about other animal rights issues, it always amazes me that greyhound racing keeps such a low profile in the news. Anyway you can just use your child as an excuse and say sorry but you don't think it's suitable place for a one year old. If they have a problem with that then they are in the wrong, not you! Don't be pushed into doing something you don't feel is right.

Jesus, that is awful, so sad. Did you tell anyone?

atacareercrossroads Fri 01-Feb-13 09:42:43

My god. Anyone who reads the story of last hope and still thinks this is a great industry are just really kidding themselves aren't they. The poor thing was still alive sad

JesusInTheCabbageVan Fri 01-Feb-13 18:35:57

Tough we reported it to the organisers, but I don't know what happened about it.

We sort of had to leave in a hurry because someone else's greyhound pissed up my leg smile

Narked Fri 01-Feb-13 18:42:03

Not only would I not go, I couldn't be married to someone who would consider this 'entertainment.'

Booyhoo Fri 01-Feb-13 18:43:49

bottleoffish wasn't judgemental at all. she quite accuratelyt pointed out that dog racing has a devastating effect on the animals used to provide this entertainment and money for people. if you want entertainment go see a comedy show.

Pixel Fri 01-Feb-13 19:18:47

I am involved in the retirement and sometimes rescue of former racing greyhounds. Over the years I have dealt with trainers/owners who have been very responsible in the resettlement of their greyhounds

Thanks for not tarring everyone with the same brush. I have a good friend whose husband was until recently a top greyhound trainer. He always had several dogs that he was keeping at his own expense because the owners didn't want them any more and were refusing to pay the bills. He would keep them until he found a good home for them or the local greyhound rescue (to whom he made regular donations) had space to take them. The alternative was having them put down or dumping them and he wouldn't do that. He would also take them home to become family pets. I've even been present when they collected a dog from the vet, having paid for expensive treatment despite the fact that it would never race again.
I've been to the kennels on several occasions and I can honestly say they were much better than the Dogs Trust ones down the road, which I have also seen.

I don't doubt that there is cruelty that goes on, which is of course absolutely disgusting, but there are people who do it for the love of the dogs.

Anyway OP, I've only ever watched the racing from the comfort of the restaurant, I certainly wouldn't have had any qualms about taking a baby there. I know plenty of people do take their children because the track has a large play area to one side, although that's probably more of a summer thing!

Pixel, several people involved in rescue including myself have acknowledged that we know caring, responsible owners - BUT this doesn't address the broader points raised of the systematic issues in the system. Take Wales where I am - we still have flapping tracks. NO VET at races.
Why aren't English tracks publishing injury statistics so comparisons and improvements can be made?

The industry has made strides in recent years - partly because it is much smaller but every single welfare gain has come because campaigners have pushed for it, NOT because racing insiders wanted it. There are long strings of horrible, miserable stories about what happens to racing greys when they are no longer needed/economically viable - sadly these are fact, not myth. Every single one of our four current greys raced in England - they earned money for owners, promoters and bookmakers. Yet every single one was found dumped and abandoned - some in very distressing circumstances. According to GBGB this simply shouldn't happen, as racing owners are supposed to ensure either the dog retires to a home or is passed to a rescue. I can tell you quite categorically that this does not happen in many cases and I have yet to see any racing owners being penalised for this as they are supposed to. When we see this happening regularly then I will start to believe the industry takes welfare seriously.

countrykitten Fri 01-Feb-13 21:18:53

Narked - I am with you there.

MissBetseyTrotwood Fri 01-Feb-13 21:44:54

I'm with Scuttle on this.

Whether you decide to go or not, you could suggest to those who do that they may want to donate to an independent charity like Celia Cross after they've enjoyed their evening.

blondefriend Fri 01-Feb-13 21:54:38

Going back to the original point...

I wouldn't take a 1 year old because it is an evening do and they would be too tired to enjoy it and would just be overwhelmed and need a place to play. I would take my 4 year old because she would love the whole atmosphere and the company of lots of adults that love her. Both my children sleep in the car well so that helps.
Personally my children have loved horse racing in the past so I would be tempted to take them but we have been to family days outside in the sun which is a whole different atmosphere to a crappy restaurant with adults getting slightly tipsy in the cold.

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