Greyhound racing end in NSW spares many animals from a cruel fate
RSPCA WA congratulates the NSW State Government on the decision announced on 7 July to end greyhound racing by mid-2017.
This outcome was inevitable in light of widespread abuse of greyhounds and appalling cruelty to small animals including possums, rabbits and piglets used as live bait in training sessions.
Australians were shocked and outraged when this rampant animal abuse was publicly revealed on ABC national television last year.
Subsequently, our colleagues at RSPCA NSW called for a Special Commission of Inquiry into the industry and worked closely with it providing a great deal of evidence. It is thanks to their efforts that the NSW Government reached its decision to end the industry, sparing thousands of animals in future from a cruel fate.
The animal welfare issues and unethical practices in greyhound racing exposed by the Special Commission of Inquiry are extensive. Identified animal welfare problems include significant overbreeding and oversupply, high injury rates, physical overexertion, inadequate housing, lack of socialisation and environmental enrichment, illegal use of defenceless small animals for live baiting in training sessions, other questionable training practices, the administration of banned or unregistered substances, export and the inhumane fate of unwanted greyhounds (high wastage rates, high euthanasia rates and low rehoming rates). Other major problems include poor industry self-regulation and lack of industry transparency and accountability.
While some of these cruel activities are illegal within the industry, the Special Commission of Inquiry found their use was widespread and systemic.
The industry is underestimating the extent of the public outrage about live baiting and other animal welfare scandals and so far does not accept full responsibility. Until the industry makes a genuine effort to embrace animal welfare nationally, the RSPCA cannot support greyhound racing.
However, where greyhound racing continues to be conducted, the RSPCA advocates the following:
- Comprehensive regulation of greyhound racing by an independent body with a formal and complete separation of the integrity and regulatory functions from the commercial functions.
- Adoption of compulsory and enforced animal welfare standards for greyhounds at all life stages to eliminate practices that cause injury, pain, suffering or distress and ensure all greyhounds have a good quality of life.
- Adoption of formal processes to address over-supply and wastage rates. There should be an expectation and formal processes in place within the industry that greyhounds will be rehomed as a companion animal on retirement and provisions made to ensure their welfare.
- Mandatory collection and publication of comprehensive lifecycle (birth to death records) and injury statistics and the development of a national identification and traceability system for all greyhounds to ensure each greyhound born is accounted for.
These measures are endorsed by RSPCA WA.
An RSPCA WA reward of up to $10,000 remains available for anyone who comes forward with information about live baiting that leads to a prosecution of animal cruelty.
To report information on any animal cruelty, call RSPCA WA on 1300 278 3589.