How the greyhound industry is changing

By Liana Walker

A Four Corners report in 2015 revealed to the nation just how entrenched live-baiting was within the greyhound racing industry. 

Trainers were found to be using live pigs, rabbits and possums to bait the race dogs in actions that led to several suspensions and charges. 

An enquiry in New South Wales found other problems nationally with in the industry including overbreeding which saw up to 17,000 greyhound dogs killed each year. 

Since then, there have been many changes to the industry. 

Greyhounds New Beginnings director Buffy Ashley said the changes are reflected in the number of dogs coming through the system. 

“We’ve seen an increase in the number of dogs that have been coming into us, they’ve been coming in hard and fast from the trainers,” she said. 

“We had a little bit of a decline in the amount of dogs getting re-homed.

 “But I know that other adoption groups have said greyhounds have become more popular.” 

 

Live-baiting and the law 

Animal Care and Protection Laws have banned the use of living baiting within Queensland since 2001.

But even since the 2015 scandal, which saw 37 trainers were charged under this act, Ms Ashley couldn’t rule out the possibility that live-baiting was still occurring. 

“We speak to the trainers but they’re not going to tell us if they’re living baiting or not,” she said.  

She said the dogs prey drive is an indicator as to whether or not the practice has been used. 

“There are obviously rules and regulation and penalties for people who do live-bait the dogs,” she said. 

“So there has been a decline in a prominent prey drive in younger dogs.

“But the older dogs, so seven-plus years of age, they were around when live-baiting was happening so we can see in those dogs. 

“But in the younger dogs we’re not seeing it so much.”

Racing Queensland Corporate Affair Manager Darren Davies said if anyone knew of the practice being used they should direct that evidence to the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission. 

“Racing Queensland has a zero-tolerance to animal cruelty,” he said. 

“While policing is now carried out by the QRIC, Racing Queensland promotes the highest standards of care for greyhounds.”

 

Owning a Greyhound   

Maddy Ross is an ex-racing greyhound owner. She said issues such as overbreeding and live-baiting were part of the reason she chose to adopt.

“There’s a lot of horror stories about the racing industry,” she said 

“So I felt really good about adopting rather than buying a puppy.” 

She said lack of transparency in the industry makes it hard to predict how the dog will adjust to becoming a pet.

“Unfortunately when adopting a greyhound it’s life before it comes to you is unknown,” she said.

“Trainers have been known to lie about the dogs condition, how they’ve been treated.

“As much as you can’t know what the dogs been through a vet check will often show you things that were never mentioned.”

She said how the dogs act when they are brought home can also reveal their history.  

“The greyhound I’ve got he’s absolutely beautiful, completely placid natures, gets along with kids, cats, dogs, everything,” she said.

“But, he cringes. So it’s clear that he’s been abused in some way shape or form.

 “He worries, certain movements upset him and he doesn’t react well to certain stuff. 

Miss Ross said even if you were adopt a bait-trained greyhound all they need is a little compassion to become a good pet.

“They want just want love,” she said. 

“Because for a lot of their life they haven’t had it, they’re pretty happy to do whatever you ask them to because they’re happy.

“And then you’ve also got the fact that, chances are, if you rescue a greyhound you’re saving its life.”

 

(Image: Wikipedia Commons)

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