Every year at about this time London Beaumont and London
Porters' regions of HCPT put on a fund raising event at Wimbledon
Greyhound Racing Stadium. This takes the form of a champagne reception,
followed by dinner track side (behind a glass screen). Many
generous people and not a few companies, sponsor races, dogs
racecards, prize draw tickets and buy places at the dinner tables.
Being HCPT, the dining area of the stadium is bedecked with
ballons and many students and young people volunteer to help
make the evening a social success as well as a financial one
for the charity.
As it happens, a great local headmaster friend, Chris was 50
years old this week so we celebrated his birthday by going to
the dogs and sharing a small dinner table in the "Star Attraction"
restaurant, with a few helpers from HCPT Group 35.
One of the unusual features of the HCPT Greyhound racenight,
is that mid way through the dog races, is a human relay race.
About 4 teams of 6 students each raced the track and all bets
placed on the human race went to the charity. Bets on the dogs
however all went to the Totaliser Board's coffers. Hopefully
the Tote can be privatised soon as I cannot see any justification for
government meddling in dog race betting, other than to cream off
That brings me to the questions of betting; ethics; fundraising
for a Catholic though lay run, charity and animal welfare.
The reality of betting on dogs seems to be that there is
a lot of luck and very little judgement involved in backing
a winner. Indeed on the Sharecrazy website at present is a share
picking competition, based on the similar premise that a mythical chimpanzee
picking shares with a pin, may do better than the expert share
pickers. The Sharecrazy competition results so far appear to support
that view. The experiences of the HCPT Group 35 yesterday night
were very similar. The minimum Tote bet for a win was £2. Over
10 races at £2 each, betting almost entirely on the attractiveness
of name of the chosen greyhound, I spent £20 and had 2 wins.
One paid back just under £12, the other £5. Still the evening
More seriously though what about the gambling ethics?
This larger question for me is one which is still quite
easy to answer. No ethical problem in my personal opinion,
if done in moderation.
What is moderation will obviously be an individual
matter depending on one's own circumstances. However
even if I was very rich, I doubt that dog races would be worth
a gamble much over say £50 in a year. Also as the races themselves
only last seconds there is not the same spectacle or
atmosphere as say at horse races, most people would
probably not want go to the dogs more than once
a year or so.
As for animal welfare - I have doubts about the whole
treating dogs like children's dolls, pet concept anyway and I am
not sure that breeding them for racing is any
worse than breeding say chiwowa's, poodles, bulldog mastiffs
etc for human playthings/security guards, loneliness needs, etc.
Sure there are some people who get enormous pleasure from dogs
but as one who frequently enjoys jogging, the nuisance dogs
can cause to humanity other than their owners, is understated.
Back to last night, first indications are that HCPT the Pilgrimage
Trust will have benefitted to the tune of some £30,000.
About 2500 disabled children travel with HCPT to Lourdes each
Easter. Taking their fares as c.£500 each, it can be seen that
good though £30k is, there is still a long way to go before
the 2500 children are funded for 2007.