A couple of weeks ago we exposed Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) for lying about its adoption figures. The Greyhound Owners, Trainers and Breeders Association (GOTBA) of Victoria attempted to defend the industry, but fell flat on their face due to a lack of factual evidence to back up their platitudes and claims. Here’s how they failed:
Claim #1: Criticism is “unfair”
Apparently, GRV’s adoption figures are sacred and no one should dare call them out for quietly adding extra dogs from other independent rescue groups to make their adoption numbers look better. Um…hello? If GRV wants to whitewash the greyhound racing industry by claiming that they have rehomed 6,100 greyhounds in 20 years when they haven’t, criticism is definitely called for. Check out this lame response to the journalist who exposed the practice:
Greyhound Racing Victoria spokesman Renn Barker said GRV did include other agencies’ dogs in its figures but they comprised a small amount of the total number of dogs adopted through GAP.
“In 2014-15, GAP conducted 32 collar assessments for Greyhound Safety Net prior to them adopting out their dogs accounting for fewer than 4 per cent of all dogs rehomed through GAP that year,” he said.
“The percentage for previous years is very similar.
“Excluding the GSN dogs would still produce a figure of around 6100 dogs over 20 years.”
Aside from the obvious mathematical fact that 4% of 6,100 (if Mr Barker is correct that roughly 4% of GAP’s adoption figures every year are actually dogs rescued by Greyhound Safety Net) is 364 dogs and therefore the real figure cannot still around 6,100 dogs after excluding them, Greyhound Safety Net is just one Victoria-based rescue group for greyhounds. What about Amazing Greys, Greyhound Rescue Victoria, Gumtree Greys, Gippsland Greyhounds? And what about the non-breed specific groups like the RSPCA?
If each of these also account for a conservative 4% like Greyhound Safety Net, that’s 24% of dogs claimed by GRV to be rehomed by GAP which were actually rehomed by independent groups who get nothing from the industry by way of help or support. GAP’s actual adoption figures could be as low as 4,636 greyhounds rehomed over 20 years – compare this to how Victoria’s industry is breeding an average of 6,588 puppies every year.
Claim #2: Excess VIC Dogs Are Happily Living in SA, WA and TAS
GOTBA attempts to shift attention away from Victoria by claiming that South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania are heavily reliant on them to supply their ‘product’, and that all of these greyhounds being shipped off “live out their lives in other states”. This is misleading because it’s not as if SA, WA and TAS breed no greyhounds of their own – they did in fact breed an average of 1,979 puppies a year based on MacSporran’s calculations:
Now, let’s have a look at the number of greyhounds rehomed in these states. Sorry for any statistic-phobic folks reading this, but we’re going to have to do some calculations now to disprove this unsubstantiated claim from GOTBA.
South Australia‘s GAP rehomed 167 greyhounds in 2011/2012, 186 greyhounds in 2012/2013, around 186 greyhounds in 2013/2014 and 247 greyhounds in 2014/2015. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they’ll keep up this achievement of 247 greyhounds a year instead of the average number of adoptions over the last four years (196.5). In Western Australia, GAP celebrated the rehoming of its 1,000th greyhound after 12 years of operation in 2013. That’s roughly 83 dogs a year. In Tasmania, GAP adopted out 63 greyhounds in 2014/15 – sadly, only 28 dogs were adopted out the year before. Let’s be generous again and assume Tasmania’s racing industry manages to adopt out 63 greyhounds a year.
So on average, the racing industry in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania bred 1,979 greyhounds a year while receiving an unknown quantity of greyhounds from Victoria. At the same time, the industry-run adoption programs in these states are rehoming an (extremely generous) estimate of 393 greyhounds a year. Sorry GOTBA VIC; if these three states cannot even rehome all of the greyhounds they are breeding themselves, then there is no way they are rehoming all of your excess dogs after you’ve shipped them across the border and left them to their fate.
Claim #3: All These Dogs Are Living in Our Backyards
GOTBA’s next laughable attempt at convincing us that the thousands of dogs they have been breeding in Victoria are indeed all still alive is to say that most industry participants keep multiple retired dogs: “Many of the 20,000 participants in the Victorian greyhound industry have multiple retired dogs that live in their backyard.”
While we have no doubt that some industry participants do keep retired dogs, it is pretty unrealistic to think that every single one of them is willing and able to keep multiple retired dogs as well as their racing dogs in acceptable living conditions at the same time. Also, where has this 20,000 figure come from?
IBISWorld is Australia’s largest provider of industry-based research and is used by universities and large corporations as a source of trusted business intelligence. Their take on employment for the horse and dog racing industry nationwide is a humble 9,189 jobs. Take another look at the table above which estimates how many greyhounds are bred by the industry. Do we really think over 200,000 greyhounds are resting on the couches of a few thousand greyhound racing participants across Australia?
It will be interesting to see if GOTBA’s claim of 20,000 greyhound racing participants in Victoria alone came from a biased source (e.g. an industry annual report, which has a vested interest in making racing sound important and indispensable) or worse, from someone’s imagination.
Claim #4: Not All Greyhounds Need Rehoming, We Keep Some to Breed Even More!
Last but not least, GOTBA then tries to pull the wool over readers’ eyes by saying “A large number of greyhounds are also kept as breeding stock.” What this really means is that a number of greyhounds are kept after racing to be used as puppy factories, and then they too are discarded once they cannot be used for breeding anymore. Don’t believe us? Here are two ex-brood bitches in Victoria who were rehomed by independent, volunteer-run charities:
GRV’s breeding rules state that a female greyhound cannot be registered for breeding after eight years old or after having three litters. Once a brood bitch has outlived her usefulness, she too will be in need of a home. GOTBA is deliberately trying to mislead the public by claiming that greyhounds kept for breeding will never be discarded.
We’re Not Fooled
GOTBA may have made a lot of misleading, unsubstantiated statements in the media, but we aren’t fooled. Well done to the journalist for asking GOTBA the hard questions:
Ms Reed did not answer Leader’s questions about how many of the dogs bred for racing each year were euthanised and how many were rehomed in the ways she described.
Sorry GOTBA and GRV – the fact still stands that your industry is breeding more greyhounds than you can rehome. It is by the good grace and generosity of members of the public that independent volunteer-run charities are able to help rehome some of your discarded greyhounds; the rest of these dogs ‘disappear’ with nobody held accountable for this atrocity. Don’t be surprised that the public wants to shut you down. It’s only a matter of time.
Please join us in the fight to end greyhound racing by liking and sharing the posts from our Facebook pages: the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds and Shut It Down – A National Day of Action. Every bit of awareness helps!