Category Archives: Greyhounds

Better days for dogs that make it out alive

Anne Boxhall column, The Sunday Tasmanian, Jan 7 2018

Sunday Tasmanian – Pet Column

For January 7th

For greyhounds who survive the race track and go on to be adopted as pets, the news gets even better. Adopted greyhounds will have the opportunity to go muzzle-free, in line with recent changes to the Dog Control Act. For adopters of greyhounds, it’s a step towards greater understanding and respect for this misunderstood breed. Adopted greyhounds will need to pass an assessment program to be granted muzzle-free status. Details on the assessment are yet to be provided, including whether the process will operate independently of the racing industry itself.

Racing Minister Jeremy Rockliff applauds his government’s improvements to the industry, however greyhounds are continuing to be injured and euthanased at an unacceptable rate.

The toll from just one race meeting at the Elwick Track on November 30 last year, according to a DPIPWE steward’s report, was two greyhounds put down due to injury and 3 others badly injured. Greyhound Tah Sophie suffered severe head trauma and was euthanased at the track. Wynburn Boxer suffered hind leg paralysis and suspected spinal injuries and was euthanased at an after-hours vet. Miss Claude suffered possible fracture of the right scapula. She was stood down from racing for only 21 days. Iona Fire suffered an injured shoulder, and El Grand Amigo a thigh injury.

A summary of stewards reports statewide for 2017 shows 336 dogs as injured during a race and 12 killed due to injury. A further 688 are listed as scratched prior to racing due to injury, illness or death.

To voice your concerns, contact Racing Minister Jeremy Rockliff and Shadow Racing Minister Scott Bacon. It is heartening to see greyhound racing will be banned in the Australian Capital Territory from April this year.

aboxhall@internode.on.net

 

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Greyhound racing banned in Canberra after reports of ‘egregious’ cruelty

Christopher Knaus, The Guardian wed 29 November 2017

Greyhounds have been starved to death, shot, killed with hammers, and subjected to shocking neglect and cruelty in the past year, despite intense scrutiny on the industry.

One of the worst cases prompted a Victorian state regulator to warn continued cruelty in the industry was serving to only “advance the case of those who would seek to have greyhound racing banned”.

This week the Australian Capital Territory became the first jurisdiction to ban greyhound racing, pushing ahead despite the NSW government’s backflip last October.

In doing so, it cited a disturbing case in NSW in which a trainer killed a sick puppy by hitting it twice in the head with a hammer.

Another puppy in the litter had already died and, instead of calling or visiting a vet, the trainer had decided to to use the hammer to end its suffering. It was a public holiday, and he had incorrectly assumed a vet would not be open.

Expert evidence to an inquiry by the NSW regulator, Greyhound Racing NSW, found the pup was not likely to have died instantly after the first strike.

“As a result, the pup would have experienced unnecessary pain and suffering,” Greyhound Racing NSW found.

The inquiry panel deemed the method of killing had “no place in greyhound racing”, and barred the trainer from the industry for three years.

In April a NSW trainer was given a life ban for shooting a dog, despite an order from the RSPCA to seek veterinary care.

Another NSW trainer starved a greyhound to death last year and was disqualified for 15 years and convicted of criminal offences.

Earlier this month Victorian regulators ruled on what they described as an “egregious” case of animal cruelty and neglect. It was described as one of the worst seen in several years.

Inspectors with the Victorian regulator, Greyhound Racing Victoria, visited a property owned by a registered breeder and trainer in May last year.

The trainer had five greyhounds. The inspectors were so disturbed by their state that they immediately called the RSPCA for veterinary assistance.

The dogs were emaciated, had fly-bitten ears, open sores, and had been starved and subjected to unnecessary pain.

One was bleeding and would have died without intervention.

Another was in such a bad state the regulator said it was “hard to imagine” a worse case

“There were faeces in his mouth which suggested he had consumed them out of hunger,” the regulator said. “He was anemic and was suffering from Giardia. He had fly bite wounds and pressure sores.”

The trainer was handed a life ban and fined $25,000. The regulator was scathing.

“The neglect and cruelty exhibited … in the current case is the worst this board has seen in recent years,” it said in a judgment. “Behaviour like that seen in this matter can only advance the case of those who would seek to have greyhound racing banned.”

The ACT attorney general, Gordon Ramsay, said the territory’s decision to ban greyhound racing was based on the NSW special commission of inquiry, headed by Michael McHugh.

Ramsay said the ACT was inextricably linked to the NSW industry. Most animals who raced in the ACT came from NSW.

Ramsay cited the hammer euthanasia case as evidence of continued cruelty in NSW.

“The ongoing evidence is that the industry is still deeply, deeply flawed,” he told the ABC.

“It is clearly an ongoing matter, and it’s not something that the ACT government

was willing to countenance that the risks that are so clearly there in NSW would come into the ACT.”

Legal action has been launched against the ACT government’s ban, which will come into effect in May.

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Greyhound deaths occurring at rate seen before NSW repealed ban

Christoper Knaus, The Guardian 

Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi says 707 greyhounds have died unnecessarily in eight months since repeal

Unnecessary greyhound deaths are still occurring at levels seen before New South Wales repealed its industry ban, internal figures reveal.

Details of greyhound deaths in NSW, obtained through freedom of information laws, suggest the industry is making little progress on its August 2016 guarantee that “no greyhound will be unnecessarily euthanised”.

The promise was one of a series of industry pledges designed to save NSW greyhound racing, following a damning inquiry and explosive revelations of live baiting and misconduct on ABC’s Four Corners.

Two months later, the then premier, Mike Baird, announced his backflip and the ban was formally repealed in April last year.

But data obtained by the Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi suggests unnecessary euthanasia has continued largely unabated.

 About 330 greyhounds were euthanised because they were “unsuitable for rehoming” between April last year, when the ban was formally repealed, and 31 December.

That’s a rate of about 1.3 deaths per day, which is slightly higher than the 1.1 per day in the 12 months prior.

Another 296 greyhounds were euthanised due to injury, a rate that was again similar to the previous 12 months.

In total, Faruqi said, 707 greyhounds have died unnecessarily in the eight months since the repeal, a rate of 2.68 dogs a day. The rate for the 12 months before the ban’s repeal was three dogs per day.

Just last week, NSW stewards launched an investigation into the circumstances of a euthanisation at a regional racetrack earlier in January.

A greyhound had collided with several other dogs during a race and was found to have breached racing rules by “failing to pursue”. It was suspended from racing for 28 days. The greyhound was then euthanised by the officiating veterinarian.

But official stewards reports from the race suggest the dog was checked and “no apparent injury was detected”. The stewards reports also record the related euthanasias for the race as “nil”.

Faruqi said the industry could not exist without the future deaths of thousands of dogs.

“More than one greyhound is put down every day because they are considered ‘not suitable for rehoming’,” she said.

“It’s telling how a greyhound is wanted while it makes them money but, once they are retired and not profitable, they become unsuitable and are killed. The industry should care for and rehabilitate these dogs, not just kill them because they are inconvenient.”

She said the figures likely masked the true extent of the problem. There is little tracking of what happens to dogs that are transferred to third parties and Faruqi said there was nothing stopping an owner keeping the euthanasia from authorities by filling out adoption paperwork and having it put down a short time later.

Greyhound Racing NSW, the governing body, accepted the unlawful euthanasia of underperforming greyhounds had been a “scourge” on the industry for decades.

The problem, it said, was not one that could be fixed overnight and required a fundamental cultural shift within the industry.

The organisation had undergone a period of “significant organisational change” since the ban was announced and then overturned in 2016, the statement said.

A new board was elected in June last year and a new leadership team of chief executive officer Tony Mestrov and deputy CEO Dayle Brown was only appointed in October.

“All of these changes mean that while GRNSW is now in an organisation with strong leadership and in a position to implement real change, it has just come out of a significant period of transformation and these senior appointments have only held their positions for a few short months,” its statement said.

Greyhound Racing NSW said it took the issue of greyhound wastage seriously. It acknowledged it had “historically failed to take adequate measures to safeguard greyhound welfare and promote responsible breeding and ownership practices”.

“GRNSW recognises the magnitude of the problem and submits whatever its past failings, it is committed to strategic reform and is leading fundamental transformation of the industry,” the organisation said.

“GRNSW recognises the magnitude of the problem and submits whatever its past failings, it is committed to strategic reform and is leading fundamental transformation of the industry,” the organisation said.

“Over the past few years GRNSW has been investigating, developing and implementing a range of measures to substantially reduce the level of greyhounds unnecessarily euthanased to translate into meaningful change in the long term and at every stage of the greyhound lifecycle.”

It said it would achieve reductions in euthanasia rates through education, better funding for the greyhound adoption program and more effective regulation.

“The unlawful euthanasia of underperforming greyhounds has been a scourge on the industry for decades and it won’t change overnight,” the organisation said.

“GRNSW’s immediate objective is to reduce all unnecessary euthanasia to the lowest possible levels and to ensure that once all other avenues are exhausted, and when it is necessary to euthanase a greyhound that is unsuitable for rehoming, it is done so in a humane manner.”

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Backflip

The Sunday Tasmanian Oct 23 2016 Anne Boxhall column

Eight weeks ago, NSW Premier Mike Baird wrote this: “When it comes to the greyhound ban, I am more concerned with doing the right thing than chasing votes. If there was any way we could have rehabilitated the industry we would have…this is an industry with no chance of rehabilitation.”

A Special Commission of Inquiry delivered a damning report after 13 months of investigation, 151,000 pages of evidence, 115 hours of video evidence, 804 submissions and 69 individual testimonies. The decision to ban greyhound racing was made on the evidence. The sheer scale of animal suffering and death put greyhound racing into a league of its own. The industry has repeatedly said it is committed improving animal welfare but has consistently failed to deliver.

A recent RSPCA poll found that 64 per cent of the public in NSW and ACT supported the ban on greyhound racing. With a ban being the only thing guaranteeing animals protection from cruelty, the recent repeal of the ban is one in a regrettably long line of flaky capitulations.

Disappointingly, this time it was Baird giving in to media and party pressure and saving his own skin. Instead, huge amounts of public money will now be needed to enforce new rules upon an industry that no longer has a social licence.

Tainted by the use of drugs, live baiting, the amount of animal suffering and wastage involved in generating huge profits for a select few, the majority are turning away from this industry. Interest in greyhound racing is in decline worldwide.

Eventually compassion will prevail and greyhound racing will end in this country too. One day these dogs will no longer be sporting commodities. For more on the repeal of the greyhound racing ban visit www.animalsaustralia.org

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Greyhound Ban

Sunday Tasmanian – Pet Column, Anne Boxhall,  July 17th

The decision to ban greyhound racing in New South Wales has generated lively social media in recent weeks.

Inevitably, those owners and trainers who haven’t been breaking the rules are venting widely. Their anger would be best directed towards those in their own industry whose cruel practices led to the ban in the first place.

Premier Mike Baird was well aware that for too long, too many people knew what was going on and didn’t do enough to reform greyhound racing even though the industry had many chances to reform itself.

The NSW special commission uncovered systemic cruelty, intentional deception and illegal activity. Even after the Four Corners investigation and with full knowledge of the inquiry, the commission’s report found trainers were still using live baiting and flouting the rules.

It’s widely held that this culture of deception and mistreatment of dogs runs too deep right across Australia and other states must follow New South Wale’s lead. Premier Baird admirably banned the industry rather than derive gambling revenue from such shameful animal welfare practices.

Meanwhile some within the industry are claiming alarm at the prospect of greyhounds being killed due to the ban. Are these the very same owners and trainers who have been insisting they love their greyhounds and that these dogs are part of their family? If so, why not simply keep their dogs.

Bear in mind that if lives were lost as a result of the shutdown, it would be a very small fraction compared to the lives lost if the industry had continued.

For any doubters, the full review is available here: www.greyhoundracinginquiry.justice.nsw.gov.au  Strategies for rehoming existing racing dogs will be in play over the next twelve months enabling many more people to be smitten by the considerable charms of pet greyhounds.

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Inquiry-told-of-cruelties-as-greyhound-slaughter-continues-unchecked

SMH Dec 8 2013 Natalie O’Brien

Thousands of healthy greyhound puppies are disappearing, presumed killed, every year, but their deaths are not reported or investigated by the $144 million greyhound racing industry.

Shocking details about puppy farming and the mass killing of the pups have emerged as a record number of people and organisations told a NSW parliamentary inquiry about the dark practices of the greyhound industry.

In one submission, a former industry participant, who did not want to be identified because he said he feared for his safety, said: “I actually found a brown sack one day, when washing my hands in the river that ran through the property, full of dead newborn pups.”

In 2011, up to 3440 puppies were born in registered litters but disappeared before they were named. Naming is a prerequisite for the dogs to race. READ MORE HERE

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Put an end to greyhound racing

Illawarra Mercury  INEZ HAMILTON-SMITH; April 15, 2013

While you were at home this past Wednesday evening, maybe cooking a nice meal or relaxing watching the TV, greyhounds were racing at various tracks around Australia. These dogs were literally running for their lives. Some didn’t make it.

At the Dapto greyhound track, three greyhounds lost their lives.

The first greyhound that died was Shez’s Way. She was a 19-month-old black greyhound.

This was her very first race. Something happened at the first turn and Shez’s Way stopped running. The track vet inspected her and found she had a serious fractured leg. Serious enough that she wouldn’t race again. When you are a greyhound and you can’t race, you are generally considered worthless. Shez’s Way was put to sleep.  READ MORE HERE

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