A social media post regarding the release of documents revealing the recent death of six greyhound puppies by a trainer has garnered the attention of many animal support groups and concern of the general public.
The post initially put up by the Barristers Animal welfare panel facebook page, claimed the puppies were put down within three weeks of ownership according to Greyhound Racing NSW’s internal records. The post condemned GR NSW for “taking no action against the man responsible because he was no longer a registered trainer” and for “not refer[ing] him to other authorities because no crime had been committed”.
The Barristers Animal Welfare panel is a national organisation consisting of over 100 barristers from state bars of Australia, committed to animal welfare advocacy. The chairman of BAWP is Joana Fuller whom spoke of the matter. “We cannot simply better regulate animal cruelty .. The industry should be shut down and that is immediately.” She believes the industry is full of corruption and these records are just a starting point. “I think that it’s unlikely [to be] an isolated incident when we know that 18,000 dogs are destroyed annually, and those are the records that are held by veterinarians, and obviously disposing of the dogs illegally is cheaper.”
The comments expressed by followers of the post were in agreement with BAWP by a vast majority, and filled with anger.
Greyhound racing is a long running issue in Australia and has been a topic of hot debate and political turmoil, especially over the past few years (see below).
NSW racing has declined to comment on the post, but has released a statement regarding the documents stating “the industry has willingly committed to best practice animal welfare standards, total lifecycle management for all greyhounds and stronger regulation and is confident of a positive future.”
The industry relies heavily on adoption of hounds as an alternative to euthanasia. The largest agency in Victoria is known as Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP), operated by greyhound racing Victoria. Greyhounds that don’t make the grade for racing or are at the end of their racing career are trained and assessed before being matched with new owners.
Not all dogs are able to be adopted through programs such as GAP. There is an oversupply, and due to the use of live baiting to “blood” the dogs, many are rendered too dangerous for use as pets. While most figures are unavailable to public, the RSPCA estimates less than 8 per cent are rehomed.
Greyhound fosterer Matilda Bengtzen, regularly visits the GAP adoption shelter in Seymour, Victoria. “I love my grey. When I first got her at two years old she was emaciated and very timid, I presume from mistreatment.” She believes that the perception that greyhounds are vicious is inaccurate as most hounds she deals with are “gentle, shy and lazy creatures.”
If you are interested in adopting a greyhound, GAP has an open day this saturday.