New figures revealed by the Greens NSW through Freedom of Information and reported in the Guardian have shown that nothing has changed since greyhound racing was ‘unbanned’ by the NSW Liberal/National Government, with more than 700 dogs euthanised or killed for reasons related to racing between April and December 2017. This equates to more than almost a hundred dogs a month or almost three dogs each day, which is comparable to figures from the year before showing no very little decline in deaths.
Almost half of these dogs were put down by vets as being “unsuitable for rehoming”, which the Greens claim is a backdoor way of euthanising unwanted dogs. Even if all these dogs had behavioural issues, the industry needs to take responsibility for damaging these dogs and care for and rehabilitate these animals, not have them killed. A report from New Zealand suggested a trend of dogs being euthanised just days after being retired from racing, with no attempt to rehabilitate the animals. There are concerns a similar trend may exist here.
Since April 2016, more than 1,500 dogs have died unnecessarily, including from injury, euthanised for being ‘unsuitable for rehoming’ or killed on track. Even accounting for illness and old age, almost 40% of dogs still leave the industry dead.
This could represent the tip of the iceberg because there is no data on what happened to the dogs that were adopted by owners and third party associates. There is nothing stopping an owner filling out the form as having adopted the dog, then having the dog euthanised the next day (as once adopted, it no longer will show up in Greyhound Racing NSW records). Dr Faruqi raised these concerns in her second reading speech to the Greyhound Racing Bill 2017 and a secret Greyhound Racing NSW brief highlighted the risks of animals being euthanised, abandoned or exported after adoption by the owner or a friend or family member. Almost half of dogs retired alive in the industry between April and December 2017 were adopted by the owner, trainer or a ‘third party associate’.
The Greyhound Racing Industry promised in August 2016 that “No greyhound will be unnecessarily euthnanised. We will deliver the guarantee that there will be no wastage of greyhounds in the future”. We are clearly a long way from that.
Greens NSW MP and Animal Welfare Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, said:
“These figures show nothing has changed after Labor, Liberals and the Nationals came together to not only overturn the greyhound racing ban, but give them tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to resuscitate a dying a cruel industry.
“Almost a hundred dogs each and every month since April have die unnecessarily due to Labor’s political opportunism and Liberal/National political cowardice from the Liberals and Nationals.
“The greyhound racing and gambling lobby promised that there would be no more unnecessary killings of dogs when they overturned the ban in collusion with the Labor Party. We now know that this was just more empty promises that they couldn’t possibly keep.
“The worst part of the system is that there is no tracking once the retirement form has been submitted. You could literally have a trainer fill out a form saying they have adopted a dog and have it killed or dumped the next day. This isn’t just the Greens saying this, Greyhound Racing NSW has raised this issue themselves in secret documents.
“The Special Commission of Inquiry rightly said that the industry cannot exist without the continued deaths of thousands of dogs. While gambling interests rule these state, animals will always lose out” she concluded.
For more information: Matt Hilton for Mehreen Faruqi 0474 437 111 / (02) 9230 2194
Figures Available on Request