Disturbing Greyhound Racing Cruelty Shocks Victoria
Last November, the heartbreaking story of Tommy, a five-year-old racing greyhound found wandering the streets, shocked animal lovers across Victoria.
Underweight, with teeth ground back to stumps and covered in painful sores, Tommy's condition was an appalling testament to the dark side of the greyhound racing industry. However, Tommy's story is not isolated. New figures and investigations have raised concerns about the treatment and welfare of greyhounds, prompting demands for an independent inquiry into the state's racing industry.
Rescue group Amazing Greys, which eventually took in Tommy, incurred over $3,500 in vet bills to nurse him back to health. Following a complaint by the organization, Tommy's previous owner, a greyhound racing trainer, received a one-month suspension and a $500 fine, with all but $250 of the penalty suspended.
Tommy's miraculous recovery was a result of the dedication and compassion shown by rescue groups, but sadly, many other greyhounds face a far worse fate.
Disturbing Animal Cruelty
Recent research by the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds (CPG) has shed light on the distressing reality faced by retired racing greyhounds. Stewards' reports indicate that 18 greyhounds have died during races on Victorian tracks this year.
However, the CPG's data revealed a further 34 dogs listed as retired and dead due to injuries sustained in their last races. In total, at least 62 greyhounds nationwide were listed as dead following on-track injuries, with Victoria being home to most of these deaths.
CPG spokesperson Joanne Lee accused the racing industry of treating greyhounds as "disposable commodities" and asserted that dogs are being "quietly killed away from the tracks" instead of being rehabilitated once they are no longer profitable. Greyhound advocates argue that this data illustrates the industry's lack of regard for the lives and well-being of these animals.
Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) countered these claims, stating that every greyhound death is reviewed and recorded. They attributed the "off-track deaths" to a variety of causes, including natural causes, illness, non-racing injury, and euthanasia on medical or behavioral grounds. GRV's most recent annual report indicated a decline in racing-related fatalities and injuries over the past five years.
South Australian Government to Takes Action
However, a deeper examination of Victorian Racing Tribunal (VRT) Decisions revealed troubling incidents of animal cruelty, neglect, and threats by trainers to shoot dogs. Such actions have raised serious concerns among MPs and animal welfare advocates who are now demanding an independent inquiry into the greyhound racing industry, similar to one promised by the South Australian government after the exposure of animal abuse footage.
Animal Justice Party MP Georgie Purcell emphasized that the evidence and off-track deaths unveiled in the VRT findings indicate disturbing animal cruelty occurring in plain sight. Western Victorian Greens MP Sarah Mansfield also voiced support for an inquiry into the industry and the eventual end of greyhound racing in Victoria.
Rescue and rehoming groups have been overwhelmed by the number of greyhound owners, mostly connected to the racing industry, trying to abandon unwanted dogs. Long waitlists and "bidding wars" between owners desperate to have their dogs taken in have been reported by these groups.
Progress and Hope
Minister for Racing, Anthony Carbines, acknowledged that progress has been made towards improving greyhound welfare, but the mounting evidence of animal cruelty and the suffering of these beautiful creatures demands urgent and thorough investigation.
As the call for an independent inquiry grows louder, it is hoped that decisive action will be taken to ensure that greyhound racing in Victoria is transparent, ethical and prioritizes the welfare of these graceful animals. Only through comprehensive reform and oversight can we prevent such tragedies from happening again in the future