Dear honourable member,
I am writing to you regarding the issue of the live export of Australian greyhounds.
Since this issue was aired on the ABC’s 7.30 program, the national reaction has been one of shock that there were still more horrors relating to Australian greyhound racing.
As if live baiting, the killing of thousands of young healthy dogs each year, and ridiculously frequent doping of dogs with illegal substances were not enough, on the 9th December Australians learnt that people in the greyhound racing industry were exporting dogs to countries with no animal welfare laws. These participants, who say they love their dogs, have no problem at all with exporting them to countries where they know the greyhounds will face a cruel fate of prison-like living conditions and certain death upon retirement.
We learnt that as many as 800 greyhounds are housed at the notorious Canidrome where no dog leaves alive. Here they race five nights per week on a track that has been reported by vets and other experts as “too hard”. Dogs suffer fatal injuries on the track on a very frequent basis, including broken necks caused by falls as we saw on 7.30.
The “supply” of Australian greyhounds to this horrid place is regular, with up to 30 Australian greyhounds being sent to Macau on a monthly basis to replace the underperforming dogs at the Canidrome facility. These underperforming dogs are euthanized without exception as there is no rehoming program.
The ABC also discovered at least two secret illegal private racing tracks operating in China, despite the fact that gambling is illegal there. The treatment and outcomes for greyhounds at these tracks are unknown, but they likely face the same fate as their counterparts at the Canidrome. What we did see was footage of greyhounds living in solitary confinement displaying significant stress behaviours, including barking and gnawing on the bars of their kennels. Greyhounds are also exported to other countries including Vietnam where they are killed painfully through insecticide injections.
Greyhounds Australasia (GA) has been lobbying the federal government to make the export of greyhounds illegal since 2005. Another letter was written this year but your government has failed to act.
Since the news broke out, the Greens, federal Labor, Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford and Tasmanian Independent Andrew Wilkie among others have publicly called for a federal ban on the practice. The Animal Justice Party too condemns the export and every other use of greyhounds by humans, apart from companionship.
Commercial businesses are also taking a firm stance against greyhound exports. Qantas and Cathay Pacific, the only two commercial airlines that fly to Hong Kong, have declared they will no longer provide racing greyhound freight services to Asia.
All it would take to put an end to Australia’s contribution to this abuse of greyhounds, honourable member, is for you to sign a piece of paper requiring greyhounds to have export approval from GA.
Given the strong call by the Australian public, Australian politicians and GA for you to perform the simple required act to stop this cruelty, your refusal to do this is baffling.
You have been elected into office by the Australian people and you are obligated to consider our views. Why then, are you ignoring our call to stop this cruelty?
Your statement to the media indicates that the reason for this is that you don’t believe the cruelty that happens in another country is our responsibility.
You are wrong.
Australia is allowing them to be exported into countries despite having prior knowledge of the fate they are being condemned to. Australia is culpable for this cruelty. You, as Australia’s elected Minister for Agriculture, are directly responsible for this cruelty.
This blood is on your hands, Mr Joyce. This cruelty is occurring because you are enabling it to occur by failing to act to stop it.
Please stop the short-sighted, anti-Animals Australia, anti-animal activists chest-beating and show some humanity and compassion. Ban greyhound exports now!
The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds
The Animal Justice Party