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    Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds Exposes Off-Track Deaths and Calls for Inquiry
Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds Exposes Off-Track Deaths and Calls for Inquiry

Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds Exposes Off-Track Deaths and Calls for Inquiry

Veterinarian Sarah Pollard-Williams has frequently encountered racing greyhounds with fractured legs that eventually recover fully. She attributes this common injury to the curved layout of the tracks where these dogs usually compete.

Dr Pollard-Williams explained that the design of tracks with turns places significant stress on the dogs' limbs, as they tend to prefer racing on the inside rather than taking wider paths around the corners. This can lead to injuries such as leg fractures, a prevalent issue among racing greyhounds.

Image Source: Midjourney

Recent investigations conducted by the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds have revealed a distressing trend of greyhounds being euthanised off the track due to racing-related injuries, particularly leg fractures.

According to the lobby group's findings, in Australia last year, 120 greyhounds were euthanised on the track, while 194 were put down off-track following race-related injuries. In Victoria, 31 dogs were euthanised on the track, and 65 were euthanised off-track due to severe injuries sustained during races. Queensland followed closely, with 12 greyhounds euthanised on the track and 69 off-track after suffering serious injuries.

The coalition's research indicates that the euthanised dogs typically met this fate within a week or two post-injury, with some being euthanised as soon as two to three days after sustaining injuries.

Drawing on information from racing industry databases and publicly available stewards' reports, the coalition has highlighted discrepancies in track death statistics, suggesting that greyhounds are being euthanised off-track to potentially manipulate these figures.

Joanne Lee, a Victorian organiser with the coalition, expressed concerns on ABC Gippsland's Breakfast radio programme, accusing the racing industry of attempting to deceive the public by concealing off-track greyhound deaths. Lee emphasised the need for transparency and ethical treatment of these animals in the greyhound racing industry.

In addition to the euthanised greyhounds, the coalition's research identified 45 deaths attributed to post-injury illness, the inability to be rehomed, or were listed as deceased without a specified reason.

Dr. Pollard-Williams expressed disappointment at the practice of euthanising greyhounds with treatable injuries, suggesting that these dogs are viewed as disposable commodities once they are no longer profitable to their owners.

Responding to these concerns, a spokesperson for Greyhounds Australasia affirmed that every greyhound death is documented and reviewed, both on and off the track. They stressed the industry's commitment to transparency and accountability in reporting greyhound welfare statistics, which are subject to independent audits.

The spokesperson clarified that off-track euthanasia may not always be linked to racing injuries, encompassing cases of illness or non-racing-related injuries. They emphasised the importance of qualified veterinarians making decisions regarding euthanasia based on the individual circumstances of each case.

Amid mounting calls for inquiries into the greyhound racing industry's practices, the coalition advocates for federal intervention to address the ethical concerns surrounding greyhound racing. Ms. Lee underscored the need for comprehensive oversight and ethical treatment of greyhounds, highlighting previous instances of discrepancies in data reporting within the industry.

Image Source: Midjourney

The federal government reiterated that the management and welfare of the greyhound industry fall under the jurisdiction of state and territory governments. They highlighted ongoing commitments to animal welfare through initiatives such as the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy, aimed at promoting national standards and guidelines for animal welfare.

As scrutiny intensifies on the greyhound racing industry's treatment of animals, previous inquiries and regulatory actions in states like New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania underscore the urgency of improving standards and ensuring the welfare of racing greyhounds. Following a recent inquiry in South Australia, the government issued a two-year ultimatum for the industry to enhance its practices, signalling potential consequences if standards are not met.

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