Australian Greyhounds are still brutally neglected by their trainers, say lawyers

Australian Greyhounds are still leaving the racing industry in a neglected state with signs of deteriorated teeth, improper grooming and broken limbs, advocates say, four years after the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC) was established in 2018 .

The new Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds (CPG) survey involved 18 responses from leaders of community-run greyhound rescue groups in Australia. He found that most dogs arriving at the kennels were in poor condition and some were unable to climb or descend stairs, had untreated injuries from trail runs and were not socialized for rehoming.

“Eighty-nine percent of community-run greyhound groups said the dogs they cared for had pre-existing conditions that required veterinary care, including bad teeth and very poor diets,” Kylie said. Field, spokesperson for CPG, to VICE. .

“Some of these dogs are caged most of the day. These dogs are not socialized. These dogs are a commodity. So when you have a commodity, you don’t really care how it looks. Once you’re done with it, just put it back on.

According to the results of the CPG surveys, there was no shortage of examples of greyhounds being abandoned in conditions below the regulated “standard”. While 67% of rescue organizations said dogs were ‘usually’ or ‘sometimes’ injured when they arrived for help, the same number said they arrived without basic grooming.

Although all state codes say dogs should be socialized before being rehomed, just under half (45%) said dogs “usually” show signs of stress, and 28% said that dogs “usually” did not arrive at shelters with a healthy body weight.

This is not a new phenomenon in the Australian greyhound industry, which has been plagued with controversy for the past decade. In 2015 the board of directors of Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) was removed from office amid allegations live bait, resulting in the prosecution and lifetime ban of a number of trainers across the country. In 2017, NSW was the first state to ban racing altogether.

But cries from NSW nationals, who posited the ban would render the government ineligible, prompted then Prime Minister Mike Baird to overturn the decision three months later. Instead, the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel was introduced and the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC) was created in 2018.

As part of the GWIC reforms, a rehoming initiative for former racing dogs, called Greyhounds As Pets (GAP), was launched.

“There have been a lot of promises that the industry is cleaning up, especially in New South Wales. And once the ban went into effect and then lifted, there was a lot of political discussion about the industry being reformed and the industry cleaning up,” Field said.

“And we can assure the general public that this is not happening at all. The industry is still as dirty, as abusive, as low-spirited as it ever was to these dogs.

“Once you start regulating this industry, you start exposing all the loopholes. You expose the brutality, you expose the poor state in which these dogs are kept.

Field says that while welfare codes require socialization, racing authorities don’t check whether it’s done by industry participants – resulting in many dogs failing the industry admissions test , leading to euthanasia.

In 2021, an additional $25 million was siphoned off from the racing industry to add additional infrastructure under a new funding model that would see the GWIC fully funded by the NSW Government, rather than the commercial arm of the industry, GRSNW.

“We have established an independent regulator for the greyhound industry in New South Wales and after listening to feedback from stakeholders we know it is important that the GWIC budget is approved and funded independently of the commercial arm. Industry”, Kevin Anderson, New South Wales Minister for Better Regulation. , said in a statement at the time.

“This announcement will allow GRSNW, as the commercial arm of the industry’s racing and repatriation initiatives, to further invest in ‘boots on the ground’ wellness projects and support its thousands of participants with better price returns that support their livelihoods.

“It will also position GRNSW to offer better on-track facilities in our central regions across NSW.”

Despite more funding for better animal welfare, Fields says the abuse continues.

“How does a participant justify the high rates of euthanasia that can occur every week across Australia on the tracks for small injuries.”

Although GRNSW releases stewards’ reports of injuries and fatalities at each race, Field says much of the public doesn’t know how many dogs die on the track.

“There are dogs killed every week. There are videos of these incidents. We are talking about catastrophic injuries caused by dogs colliding at 80 km/h.

“I don’t think the general public has any idea how serious the situation is. And the monitoring of it has just been negligent. It was neglected by the government for many, many years.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about the money.”

In response to CPG’s investigation, a spokesperson for the Greyhound Welfare Integrity Commission told VICE that, in accordance with the Commission’s code of practice and repatriation policy, “there are strict conditions under which all participants to greyhound racing are required to comply”.

“These have been developed with the welfare of greyhounds being paramount. Any report of violation of these codes or mistreatment of greyhounds is the subject of a priority investigation by the Commission.

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