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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

A win for greyhounds in Massachusetts

IAR's Laurence Van Atten with volunteers celebrate victoryOn 4 November the people of Massachusetts, USA voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Greyhound Protect Act. This legislation will phase out commercial dog racing in the state by 2010 and close the remaining two tracks, where dogs are confined for over 20 hours a day and suffer terrible injuries racing.

The Act was passed by a margin of 56% to 44%. This is the first time in American history that dog tracks have been closed down by voters and signals an end to an industry that inflicts cruelty on dogs for entertainment and profit.

Along with other volunteers across the state, IAR's Laurence Van Atten campaigned tirelessly in the months leading up to the vote. Led by GREY2K, volunteers collected over 150,000 signatures in support of the Act. Laurence says: "It was so nerve wracking: only the day before the vote the polls showed a tie for question 3 with 13 % undecided. The opposition was employing some dirty tactics to confuse voters and it was working. I stood out campaigning for the dogs for 11 hours on the day of the vote. We tried to have some one at every precinct to let people know the truth. We watched the voted ticking in all night and it took a while to sink in that our campaign really had succeeded and history had been made for dogs in Massachusetts!"

Dog racing still exists in ten other states in the US and campaigners are committed to bringing an end to it nationwide.