End the suffering in the greyhound racing industry
The ABC’s Four Corners recently exposed the practice of live baiting in the multi-billion dollar greyhound racing industry.
It showed greyhound trainers strapping piglets, possums and other animals to mechanical lures and encouraging the dogs to chase them and then maul them while still alive. The trainers say “blooding” the greyhounds helps the dogs run faster.
The suffering inflicted on the bait animals is horrific, but “blooding” is just one part of this notoriously corrupt industry.
Greyhounds are also victims. They love to run but they have to be taught to race.
Every year, 17,000 healthy dogs are discarded by the industry because they don’t run fast enough to turn a profit. About 90% of greyhounds born into the industry are ultimately killed. Some of these beautiful but unwanted dogs are exported overseas, used in experiments or “bled” for medical use before being killed.
Greyhounds who make it to the racecourse commonly endure injuries and all are retired by the age of three or four. The reward most dogs get is a death before their fifth birthday.
The racing industry treats animals this way because it exploits and objectifies them to make money. It uses them for entertainment and profit, placing no value on their sentience.
This multi-billion dollar industry contributes to human suffering in other ways. It encourages gambling — which can be highly destructive, ruining lives and devastating families and communities.
Greyhound racing — in its present form — is not a sport in any real way. It is big business, with big cash rewards for those prepared to gamble.
Some races now offer in excess of $350,000 prize money to the winner. The ability to “win” large sums of money encourages people to do anything necessary to gain an advantage. This leads to dodgy financial dealings and practices that have plagued the industry for more than a decade.
A corruption inquiry into the greyhound industry in 2000 found corrupt conduct against the chief steward and five other people. The Chief Steward confessed to accepting bribes from some of the sport’s most prominent trainers to ensure their dogs did not return positive drug tests.
In 2012, David Landa, a former NSW ombudsman and former chief magistrate of NSW Local Courts, resigned as the integrity auditor for Greyhound Racing NSW, criticising the role as compromised and unworkable. He told Fairfax media at the time that the NSW government was negligent because it allowed the industry to self-regulate.
The practice whereby state governments pour millions of dollars into Australia’s greyhound racing industry, with money being used to build tracks and provide financial breeding incentives for the trainers, must end.
Simply outlawing “blooding”, or enforcing regulations, will not end the suffering of the animals involved: exploitation is an integral part of this industry.
The Socialist Alliance opposes the greyhound racing industry.
It calls for an immediate end to government (and Labor opposition) support for the industry and enforce the ban on using live bait.
It supports the NSW government’s announcement of a Special Commission of Inquiry into the industry. The community is rightly outraged by the live-baiting scandal and there needs to be an educational campaign about the industry’s devastating cruelty to animals. Then we can have a realistic debate over whether greyhound racing has a future in NSW.
[Greg McFarlane is a member of the Socialist Alliance and is standing as a candidate for the Socialist Alliance in the Legislative Council in the March NSW election.]