Greyhound Racing: ‘Man’s Best Friend’ Abused and Killed
Greyhounds are just like any other dog: they’re loyal, loving, and sensitive.
Although the breed is known for running faster than any other, these dogs also love snoozing more than most and can sleep for up to 20 hours a day!
Just like the dogs we share our homes with, greyhounds are friendly and happy animals who love snuggling, scratches behind the ears, and tummy rubs.
But rather than being revered as “man’s best friend”, greyhounds are often grossly exploited for human entertainment.
They’re held in high esteem for their speed, agility, and strength, but it is unfortunately these same qualities that have condemned greyhounds to be victimised by the racing and gambling industries.
Learn more about the problems associated with greyhound racing, and support calls for a nationwide ban.
Running for Their Lives
Generally, if greyhounds new to racing don’t win or place in their first six races, they’re sentenced to an early death.
An estimated 18,000 greyhounds are killed every year in Australia – simply because they aren’t deemed fast enough to win races. Eight thousand of those killed are puppies.
Tragically, these otherwise gentle and sensitive living beings are taunted and provoked into chasing different species of “lure”. Greyhounds’ fate lies in how well they chase the lure while puppies, and failing to perform can be a death sentence.
Those dogs who do make it to the racetrack are at significant risk of sustaining serious injuries, such as head trauma or broken hocks or legs, during training and racing. The intensity of racing also means dogs can suffer from seizures (from lack of oxygen) and cardiac arrest.
Even if treatable, these injuries often result in euthanasia because of economic factors. Each week, five sensitive greyhounds are killed on the track.
Greyhounds are considered to be “working dogs” and, as such, are treated as possessions – rather than the sensitive, loving animals they are.
Often confined to tiny, barren pens and kennels, they’re completely deprived of human companionship and stimulation. They can be left in these sad conditions for up to 23 hours a day.
Not a ‘Retirement’ Any of Us Would Choose
Ninety per cent of all greyhounds born into the racing industry do not live out their full life expectancies of 12 to 14 years.
Racing “careers” usually end when dogs are between the ages of 3 and 5, at which point they’re considered too slow.
In many cases, “retirement” for greyhounds means euthanasia.
Other dogs may be sent to university veterinary schools to be killed for teaching and training, and some end up being part of puppy farm–style breeding programmes.
Even those who are placed into homes have still experienced the physical and mental trauma involved in being used for racing. And of course, it is highly irresponsible to breed greyhounds when so many dogs are already languishing in shelters, desperate to find a home.
‘Live Baiting’ Cruelty
Other victims of the greyhound-racing industry have historically been hidden from the public.
Live baiting is a horrendous – and illegal – practice designed to “blood” greyhounds and corrupt their sensitive and placid nature, supposedly giving them the winning edge.
Terrified piglets, rabbits, and native possums are all victims of live baiting – tied to lures, flung around racetracks at breakneck speeds, and then mauled to death. Some animals who survive their first attack are exploited multiple times.
In 2015, Four Corners exposed these atrocities – and shocked the nation.
In 2016, a special commission of inquiry into the greyhound-racing industry released its findings and reported that even though this horrific practice is illegal, “a trainer, who admitted to engaging in live baiting, testified that about 10 to 20 per cent of trainers engaged in live baiting”.
In 2015, 624 greyhounds were exported from Australia to stimulate international greyhound-racing industries. There is no formal tracking of these exports, and the dogs all face uncertain futures.
Dogs are exported to countries which often lack adequate animal-welfare legislation. Export to Macau has been banned since 2013, but it has continued to occur in the years since:
Canidrome in Macau houses 700 Australian greyhounds in conditions that are well below the already-questionable Australian standards. Because of insufficient animal care and poor track quality, 30 dogs a month are euthanised at this track.
There are often no adoption services for greyhounds in destination countries, and greyhounds are also at risk of being killed for dog meat once no longer deemed useful or profitable to the racing industry.
How to Help Greyhounds
Thankfully, the cruelty inherent in greyhound racing is something that has steadily been revealed to the public in recent years.
Speaking of the historic decision to ban this cruel “sport” in New South Wales, Premier Mike Baird said the following:
Greyhound racing has been banned in many countries and many states of the US and is legal in only eight countries around the world. NSW will be the first state in Australia to ban it.
Unfortunately, a decision to backflip on this ban was subsequently announced.
It’s now more important than ever that we stand together and send a strong message that the Australian people will not tolerate any kind of animal abuse. It’s only a matter of time before this “sport” is stamped out in Australia.
Please write to your State Premier and ask that he or she make the compassionate decision to ban greyhound racing.