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    China and Vietnam: The Greyhound Racing Industry Comes to an End
China and Vietnam: The Greyhound Racing Industry Comes to an End
Photo: Reuters

China and Vietnam: The Greyhound Racing Industry Comes to an End


Until 2018, enthusiasts could cheer for their favourite rite greyhounds at the Canidrome greyhound racing complex in Macau, China. The former Portuguese colony, known as the gambling capital and the most populous area in China, was the sole official venue for greyhound racing. However, in the summer of 2018, the industry came to an end.

China's inaugural greyhound racing track opened in Shanghai in 1928. Subsequently, Canidrome started operations in 1931 but faced closure due to a lack of fan interest. After the Shanghai Racecourse shut down in 1949, racing activities shifted to the newly established Canidrome in 1963.

The Canidrome was overseen by the Companhia de Corridas de Galgos Macau (Yat Yuen), which owned seven betting points. The facility housed at least 700 greyhounds, primarily imported from Australia. The dogs endured harsh conditions, residing in basements with cramped cages featuring concrete floors. They suffered from heat, humidity, skin diseases, and untreated wounds, with approximately 30 greyhounds euthanized monthly, especially if they became underperformers or sustained severe injuries during races.

Photo: Reuters

In 2013, Australian greyhound breeders prohibited exporting dogs to Macau, citing substandard conditions. Despite this, the Australian government continued issuing export permits for greyhounds. Within two years of the industry's stance, 560 dogs were exported to China, sourced from various countries, including the UK and the USA.

The animal rights group Anima Macau led the charge for the track's closure, launching the "Close Canidrome" campaign in 2012. Activists from the UK, Ireland, the US, Australia, and Italy joined forces with the Macau group. Public pressure led authorities to deny Yat Yuen's lease renewal.

Until 2001, billionaire Stanley Ho held a gambling monopoly and controlled the region's economy. Over time, his influence waned, and control passed to his fourth wife, Angela Leong, a prominent businesswoman and Yat Yuen's chief executive. In July 2018, the management company abandoned the stadium, leaving 560 greyhounds behind. The campaign owner did not view the dogs as assets and suggested authorities take responsibility or relocate them further into the country.

Anima activists opposed this proposal, as there was no tradition of keeping greyhounds as pets in China. The fate of the dogs remained uncertain, with possibilities including participation in underground dog racing or being sold for meat (the consumption of dog meat is legal in China). Anima volunteers cared for the dogs and offered assistance in finding adoptive families. This marked the end of official greyhound racing in China.


Until March 2023, greyhound racing enthusiasts could witness thrilling races at Lam Son Stadium in the resort city of Vung Tau, Vietnam. Renowned for its picturesque promenade, a towering statue of Jesus Christ, and vibrant entertainment options, the city on the south coast attracted tourists with casinos, betting activities, and, until recently, greyhound racing.

Sports and Entertainment Services Ltd (SIS) organized the inaugural greyhound racing event at the stadium on May 6, 2000. Races occurred twice a week, with reasonable prices ensuring accessibility for people of various backgrounds.

Online English version of famous Vietnamese Dan Tri news

Twelve races featured eight dogs each, allowing spectators to observe participants and place bets before the competitions. Located a 50-minute drive from the stadium, a kennel hosted 750-800 greyhounds annually, primarily sourced from Australia. These dogs resided in poor conditions, serving as a means for the company's profit without regard for their well-being.

According to the charity GRYE2K US, Vietnam lacked an adoption program for greyhounds. Consequently, the fate of unsuccessful, injured, or retired racing dogs remained uncertain. Charities actively campaigned for the closure of the stadium. A 2016 investigation by Animals Australia revealed the dire fate of the dogs, leading to Qantas and Cathay Pacific airlines refusing to transport greyhounds to the region.

Photo: https://grey2kusa.org/about/worldwide/vietnamа

In 2023, SIS's lease on the stadium expired, and owner Nguyen Ngoc My declared the non-renewal of the lease. This decision saddened racing fans but inspired animal rights activists, marking the end of animal cruelty in another country.

However, the story of greyhound racing in Vietnam might not conclude just yet. The company is constructing a new racetrack in the Lam Dong foothills, north of the resort town of Da Lat. The campaign kennel has initiated greyhound breeding, and around 400 greyhounds are undergoing training in Bahria, anticipating the opening of the new racecourse.

It appears that the world of greyhound racing is on the brink of witnessing the inauguration of a new track in Vietnam.


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