In 2015, the ABC Four Corners program exposed the truth about animal cruelty in the greyhound racing industry. As a result of this program a number of State governments established inquiries into the industry. Following the Four Corners program and before any of the inquiries had concluded Greyhounds Australasia went into damage control and produced an internal confidential document highlighting what it considered to be its major public image failure. This document is now in the public domain.
Greyhounds Australasia Response
In April 2015 as a response to the live baiting exposure, Greyhounds Australasia wrote a strictly confidential document titled “Crisis to Recovery Program”. The subject of the document was given as a framework for achieving zero euthanasia. The document revealed that Australia wide:
- 7,000 greyhounds a year do not make it to the track (that is 40% of all greyhounds whelped)
- The Industry Greyhound AP re-homes only around 6% of all pre-raced and retired greyhounds
- That means the industry is responsible for the unnecessary deaths of anywhere between 13,000 and 17,000 healthy greyhounds every year (we don’t know how many are being re-homed by charity groups or how many live out their lives on owner properties)
The document went on to state “Assuming the industry survives the current inquiries in four states, it’s greatest challenge to short, medium and long term sustainability remains this disturbing reality.”
- There are currently 3800 active breeders
- Since 80% of these breed one or two litters every three years, limiting “hobby” breeder litter numbers will not solve the overbreeding problem
- The culture of the industry is such that animal deaths are considered acceptable and necessary – just part of doing business, in a business where profits come before welfare
- The industry has done a poor job in understanding the nature and depth of this fundamental problem and has done very little to find a genuine solution
- Stakeholders, in particular the public and governments, will not accept the status quo approach
The Solution proposed by Greyhounds Australasia was to reform the industry by reducing the number of greyhounds bred by 7,000 (40%) by June 2018.
NSW Inquiry and Review
One of the major welfare concerns identified by the 2016 Special Commission of Inquiry into Greyhound Racing in NSW and the Greyhound Racing Review Panel was ‘wastage’. Wastage is the industry term for the killing of healthy dogs who are too slow to race. The Special Commission established that the major contributors to wastage was overbreeding and shortfalls in re-homing.
Greyhound Racing NSW Response
The GRNSW 2018 Annual Report provides an insight into how the industry commercial operator assesses the issues of overbreeding and re-homing. The figures contained in the GRNSW 2018 Annual Report (shown below) indicate that GRNSW is not at all serious about rectifying the “wastage” issue. Indeed, it overwhelmingly appears that it is conducting ‘business as usual’ as if the Special Commission never happened.
GRNSW reported to the Special Commission of Inquiry that the number of pups born in NSW per year is as follows:
Since 2015 GRNSW has reported the following births:
FY 16/17 3,052
FY 17/18 3,916
The GRNSW Annual Report for 2018 states “The lower number of pups whelped in 2016/17 is seen as a reflection of the sharp reduction in breeding numbers that occurred during the period of uncertainty regarding the future of the industry in NSW.”
If GRNSW was attempting to meet the 40% reduction in births as recommended in the Greyhounds Australasia document based on the 2015 births, the total number of births should be 3,777. But the births for FY 17/18 exceed this figure and GRNSW regards the lower births in FY 16/17 as an aberration caused by industry uncertainty. Indeed, the trend is already in the direction of an increase.
What is the GRNSW response to reducing the annual births to 3,777 as recommended by Greyhounds Australasia?
In a press release dated 6/3/2019 GRNSW announced “GOLD MUZZLE AUCTIONS SET TO TAKE OFF IN 2019″
“Greyhound Racing NSW is today delighted and proud to announce an exciting new Greyhound Puppy Auction, and associated race series, aimed at stimulating breeding, increasing the supply of quality-bred pups, and ultimately bringing new individual owners, and syndicates, into the industry.”
Also see attached document on Greyhound Breeding and Whelping statistics for the 18/19 Financial Year – here: GREYHOUND BREEDING AND WHELPING STATISTICS NSW FY 18-19
 Special Commission of inquiry into the Greyhound racing industry in NSW para 13.12