by Sarah Wilson
The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds (CPG) welcomes the recent Tasmanian Greens policy platform promising to end greyhound racing in Tasmania.
The announcement includes an allocation of $2 million over four years to phase out the greyhound racing industry in the state. This would bring Tasmania into step with the ACT, the only jurisdiction in Australia to have banned greyhound racing following the harrowing Four Corners exposé of the industry in 2016.
Calls to ban the greyhound racing industry recognise the inherent cruelty in forcing greyhounds to race for profit. With over 60 deaths and more than 3500 injuries already documented in 2021, it remains evident there is an inherent incompatibility between greyhound racing and greyhound welfare.
CPG notes that banning the industry cannot happen in isolation. Discrepancies between the number of greyhounds whelped, numbers of greyhounds registered for racing and the number of greyhounds requiring adoption, highlight a critical gap in the industry: the need for whole-of-life tracking.
Whole-of-life tracking means transparent tracking of all greyhounds from birth, through retirement, to death. It does not mean a greyhound’s racing lifetime, despite this frequent obfuscation by politicians.
While banning the greyhound racing industry is an admirable goal, there are pressing issues that need to be addressed in the interim. Primarily, the welfare of greyhounds currently being exploited by the industry, and those who will be born into it, needs to be prioritised in an attempt to minimise harm while the industry is being phased out.
This starts with whole-of-life tracking that holds breeders, trainers, Tasracing and the Office of Racing Integrity to account.
If the industry were shut down tomorrow, thousands of greyhounds in Tasmania would need to be rehomed and this comes with significant costs. Agencies facilitating rehoming should be resourced to ensure that all greyhounds who come into their care are afforded dignity, respect and the opportunity for a long and healthy life.
Early election results show the Liberals will retain power in Tasmania. With over 80 per cent of votes counted, the Tasmanian Greens have secured two seats, meaning there will be at least two votes for greyhounds in Tasmanian Parliament for the next term.