Inspired global campaign to close the Macau Canidrome
A greyhound named Brooklyn, who inspired the successful international campaign to close down the worst dog track in the world, died on June 22, 2022 in the Boston area.
Brooklyn was born on December 10, 2008 at a breeding farm in New South Wales, Australia. After failing as a racer in Australia in 2010, he was shipped to the Yat Yuen Canidrome, the only legal dog track in China, located in in the former Portuguese colony of Macau, about 60 miles east of Hong Kong.
No dog had ever gotten out alive from this notorious facility. There was no adoption program.
After an advocate took a photo of Brooklyn in his racing muzzle in 2011, Massachusetts-based greyhound protection group GREY2K USA Worldwide asked the track owner to allow Brooklyn to be the first dog ever released from the facility.
When the track did not respond, leading animal advocacy groups from across the world called for his release, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare Australia, the SPCA Auckland in New Zealand, the British-based League Against Cruel Sports, the U.S. National Greyhound Adoption Program, and Last Chance for Animals, also in the U.S.
300,000 petitioned to close the Canidrome
Three hundred thousand animal lovers subsequently petitioned the Macau government to rescue Brooklyn and close the Yat Yuen Canidrome, a movement that included legendary French actress Brigitte Bardot and Vietnamese spiritual leader Ching Hai.
Happily, in 2018 the Canidrome closed, after the Macau government was convinced to cancel the track’s land lease. More than five hundred greyhounds were sent to waiting adopters across the globe, and Brooklyn came to the Boston area to live with local residents Carey Theil and Christine Dorchak.
A few weeks after Brooklyn’s arrival he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, and the only way to save his life was to amputate a leg. Miraculously, Brooklyn survived cancer for nearly four years and became a “best case scenario” at local animal hospitals including the Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital and the Concord Animal Hospital.
Brooklyn became a rallying cry for the effort to end greyhound racing across the world, a movement that began with a landmark ballot question in Massachusetts. In 2008, five weeks before Brooklyn was born, Bay State citizens went to the polls and voted to outlaw dog racing, sparking an unprecedented era of advocacy that has led to the closure of all but two dog tracks in the United States and a growing advocacy push worldwide.
Brooklyn is survived by his family, two- and four-legged, and grieved by animal advocates everywhere.
Australian greyhounds who failed to win races were formerly often exported to the Yat Yuen Canidrome.
The Macau Canidrome opened in 1932, two years after the Shanghai Canidrome introduced greyhound racing to China.
Both Canidromes were closed in 1938 by the Japanese invasion of China that started World War II, and were closed again by the Communist Party in 1949.
The Shanghai Canidrome was later used for rallies and public mass executions.
Most of the Shanghai site was demolished in 2005 for redevelopment, but the Macau track, again re-opened in 1963, struggled on for another 13 years.