The Queensland government has approved the construction of a greyhound racing track near Ipswich, sentencing dogs to death and wasting $40 million of taxpayers’ money.
The approval comes after PETA submitted a petition with more than 5,000 signatures asking for the project to be scrapped as well as strong objections from Animal Liberation Queensland, the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, and the Animal Welfare League.
If you’re scratching your head, wondering, “Who even still goes to greyhound races?” – that’s a great question.
Australia is one of only seven countries in the world that still allow commercial greyhound racing. Public support is waning, and medium-term projections point to a decline in the industry due to falling attendance and animal welfare concerns. The blood sport is now banned in the Australian Capital Territory.
Last year, 25 greyhounds died and another 1,436 were injured on racetracks in Queensland, not counting those who were killed or injured during training or transport. This new track will only add to the bloodshed.
Like other dogs, greyhounds are loyal and intelligent, but the racing industry reduces them to mere wagers. “Wastage” occurs when more dogs are bred than can be used in racing. It’s estimated that 25% of puppies will never make it to the track. Those deemed unsuitable for racing are often abandoned or killed.
In February 2022, the Australian government officially listed the koala as endangered following a decline in numbers due to land clearing and bushfires.
The site of this proposed greyhound racing track contains koala habitat of national and state significance that’s critical to the survival of the species.
Around 20 mature koala habitat trees will be removed to facilitate the development. Of course, the impact on native animals extends beyond tree removal. Given the increased presence of humans and hundreds of dogs – who are trained specifically to chase lures and are therefore likely to chase small animals – the area will cease to be any kind of refuge for native animals.
According to Gambling Help Queensland – a service funded by the Queensland Government – gambling is already a significant problem for the Ipswich region.
Government statistics show that Ipswich gamblers spent $15 million per month on the region’s 2,598 poker machines in 2017, and participation in sports betting is increasing more quickly than machine expenditure, according to the charity UnitingCare Australia.
Crisis support charity Lifeline estimates the average problem gambler loses $21,000 of their average annual income of $45,000. This new greyhound racing track will just add fuel to an already dangerous and rapidly spreading fire.
Proximity to Culturally Significant Land
The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Database shows eight registered sites adjacent to the subject site, each with artefact scatters.
Two other nearby sites are of great spiritual and cultural importance to the Yuggera Ugarapul people: the former Deebing Creek Mission and the Purga Aboriginal Cemetery.
The Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment reports that undocumented Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal historic cultural heritage items may be present within the project area.
Help Greyhounds Now
The government’s decision to spend nearly $40 million on a new greyhound track leaves the public to foot the bill for a facility that will be completely redundant in a decade and will kill hundreds of dogs in the meantime.
Please help us bring this vile industry to an end. In 2016, the New South Wales government commissioned an inquiry, which concluded that the greyhound racing industry is incapable of reform. Yet the government continues to throw away tens of millions of dollars on regulation, prize money, and infrastructure.
The only thing that will guarantee that dogs are protected from this cruelty is a ban on greyhound racing. Please join us in calling on the New South Wales government to shut this industry down, which would put pressure on other states to do the same: