Society and Greyhound Racing

There is one theory in psychology that has helped to understand and explain human behaviour more powerfully than any other. It is referred to as Social Learning Theory. It was put forth the by infamous Albert Bandura. Psychology and psychologists have benefitted enormously through use of this theory.

What it tells us is that a great deal of our behaviour and even our attitudes and values are learnt through social pathways – by observing others, by hearing what others tell us and by reading about things. The most influential of these pathways are significant others – for most of us, that is family members. It also includes powerful others or people in positions of power – e.g., politicians – all can be powerful role models.

Some important points:

* Animal cruelty and human aggression, violence and criminal behaviour are linked

* The behaviour and attitudes of children in particular but adults too are influenced through social learning pathways (including decisions made by governments).

* Greyhound racing is endemically corrupt, involves (ILLEGAL) animal cruelty, and doping of dogs with illegal substances.

Given what we know about the greyhound racing industry (17,000 young and healthy dogs killed because they don’t run fast enough, hundreds of thousands of small animals mauled to death, illegal doping of dogs with illegal substances, connections with underworld figures), by refusing to ban greyhound racing, governments are conveying the message to society that if there is economic gain to be made, illegal behaviour and animal cruelty are acceptable – what are the implications of this for the fabric of society?

We know that environments that support aggression and criminal behaviour will have higher levels of both and these will be passed down from one generation to the next.
If governments are serious about curbing societal problems related to aggression, animal cruelty and illegal behaviour, they have a responsibility to ban greyhound racing.

Moreover, greyhound racing is a form of gambling and there is plenty of evidence to show that gambling ruins families and societies. Any economic gain made from greyhound racing to Victoria or other states and territories will be cancelled out with all the negative effects described and then governments are in a position where they have to put money into fixing the social problems created – where is the sense in that?


Author: eleonoragullone

I am an author, adjunct associate professor in psychology and have advocated for animal welfare for more than 15 years. On the basis of my extensive research, I can confidently argue that if we cultivate a culture of compassion toward all of our non-human citizens, including those currently exploited for human use (such as food, sport and experimentation), current and future generations will benefit through reduced antisocial and violent behaviour toward all sentient beings including humans. Over my 25-year career as an academic, I have published over 100 scholarly articles in refereed academic journals and have also conducted a number of projects examining the link between aggression toward humans and cruelty toward animals. In 2000, I founded a group within the Australian Psychological Society focused on promoting positive interactions between humans and animals. This work has resulted in several scholarly publications including a book published in 2012, titled Animal cruelty, Antisocial Behaviour and Aggression: More than a link.

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