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    American Adoption Programme For Australian Greyhounds Raises Questions
American Adoption Programme For Australian Greyhounds Raises Questions

American Adoption Programme For Australian Greyhounds Raises Questions

Advocates for greyhound welfare are demanding greater transparency as new data reveals that over 500 Australian dogs have been sent to the United States for rehoming, highlighting the ongoing issue of overbreeding within the racing industry. Commercial greyhound racing is legal in seven countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Ireland, the UK, the US, and Vietnam (where no races occur).

According to animal welfare advocates, Australian greyhounds are being massively sent to the US not only due to demand but also as a result of a shortage of available homes and excessive breeding. The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds (CPG) has pointed out that these rehoming programmes are a direct consequence of the industry's overbreeding practices.

Image Source: Midjourney

Greyhounds are relatively scarce in the US due to the gradual decline of the racing industry, with only two active greyhound racetracks remaining in West Virginia. In January, a retired greyhound named Ginger became the 500th dog from New South Wales to be adopted in the US through Greyhound Racing NSW's (GRNSW) rehoming programme, known as Greyhounds As Pets (GAP).

The CPG has expressed concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding the operation of the GAP program in the US. While formally each dog needs a passport issued by Greyhounds Australasia to leave the country, the CPG claims that this requirement is not properly enforced. Andrea Pollard, president of the CPG, cited previous cases of greyhounds being sent without passports and ending up in countries like China or Macau. Pollard shared the experience of her own greyhound, Hope, being exported without a passport to Macau a decade ago before being rescued and returned to New South Wales.

Natalie Panzarino, president of Greyhound Rescue in Sydney, has raised concerns about the safety and well-being of the dogs during and after their flight to the US, considering the distance involved. While GRNSW stated that the death of a greyhound during travel last year was unrelated to the journey itself, Panzarino emphasised the importance of finding more homes for greyhounds within Australia.

In 2024 alone, there have already been seven greyhound track deaths and 1,149 track injuries reported nationwide, with the highest number of injuries (444) occurring in New South Wales. In 2023, this state also recorded the highest number of greyhound deaths (42) and injuries (4,212).

Rob Macaulay, from the industry body Greyhound Racing NSW, defended the rehoming programme, highlighting its collaboration with overseas partners. Macaulay challenged critics to find a better rehoming organisation and argued against wanting the programme to fail due to anti-racing sentiments.

Image Source: Midjourney

Greyhounds Unlimited, a Texas-based non-profit organisation responsible for Ginger's adoption, conducts thorough assessments of greyhounds based on the supplied information, personal observations, and the specific requirements of potential foster homes to ensure suitable matches. The organisation maintains regular communication with adoptive families, conducting follow-ups to ensure successful placements. They also have policies in place to address cases where a greyhound is incompatible with its new family.

While Australian advocates acknowledge the positive aspects of the rehoming programme, they continue to stress the need for increased transparency and efforts to find homes for greyhounds within the country.


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