150 Activists Protest Ipswich Greyhound Track Proposal

Posted on by PETA Australia

More than 150 protesters – including supporters from Animal Liberation Queensland, Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, the Animal Welfare League, and PETA – have rallied in Ipswich, calling for the government to stop a development application that would see a new greyhound racing track built in the area.

If greenlit, nearly $40 million of taxpayer money will be poured into the project to prop up greyhound racing in the state – an industry which has been shown time and time again to injure and kill dogs, increase the number of homeless animals, and exacerbate problem gambling.

Protesters at the site of a proposed greyhound trackAnimal Liberation Queensland

In February, PETA submitted a petition with more than 5,000 signatures asking for the project to be scrapped. Here are five reasons why this track should never see the light of day:

1. Cruelty at Every Corner

Racing Queensland claims that this new greyhound centre would follow the “best practice standards for greyhound racing safety principles”. However, the proposal includes both one-turn and two-turn tracks, which are known to increase injuries and deaths.

“These tracks are not designed for animal welfare – they’re designed for TAB and Sky Racing. If the racing industry cared about welfare, there would not be any tracks with turns, where most injuries occur,” says Animal Liberation Queensland’s Chay Neal.

In Queensland alone, 25 greyhounds died and another 1,436 were injured on racetracks last year, not including dogs who were killed or injured during training or transport.

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 become track stars. It’s estimated that 25% of puppies will never be used in racing. Despite a public outcry over industry issues such as baiting, drug use, and dog deaths, breeding numbers went up in 2021.

And it’s not only dogs who suffer. In 2015, Animal Liberation Queensland exposed the widespread practice of live baiting in the greyhound racing industry, in which trainers use live animals such as possums and piglets as lures to entice dogs to chase.

2. Land Clearing

In February 2022, the Australian government officially listed the koala as endangered, after 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 would need to 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 would likely cease to be any kind of refuge for native animals.

Image of a KoalaImage by Pixabay user skeeze

3. Gambling Impact

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 on the region’s 2,598 poker machines per month in 2017, and participation in sports betting is increasing more quickly than machine expenditure, according to the charity organisation 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 would just add fuel to an already dangerous and rapidly spreading fire.

Protest against Greyhound track in IpswichAnimal Liberation Queensland

4. 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.

5. Senseless Use of Public Funds

When the proposal for this track was first floated in 2019, more than 68,000 people signed a petition by Animal Liberation Queensland asking that the project be scrapped.

The nearly $40 million required to finance this project would come directly from the state government, meaning taxpayers would ultimately foot the bill. Committing such a large amount of money to prop up a cruel, dying industry is clearly against the community’s wishes.

Protesters at the site of a proposed greyhound trackAnimal Liberation Queensland

The Queensland Government will have blood on its hands if plans for this dog death track go ahead.

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