A dog died every 2.3 days.
A new report has revealed that 78 greyhounds were killed at racetracks in the first half of 2022, proving that industry regulations clearly don’t go far enough to keep animals safe.
According to a new report from the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds (CPG), 78 deaths and 5,091 racing injuries were recorded between January and June 2022, resulting in the average death of a dog every 2.3 days. And these are just the statistics of injuries and fatalities on the track itself.
CPG director Kylie Field said the deaths are the result of dangerous leads that the industry has no interest in changing.
“Australian racecourses are inherently dangerous to greyhounds and cause immense suffering on a daily basis. Three-quarters of fatal incidents occur where the tracks bend, but the racing industry shows no interest in moving racing to safer straight tracks,” Field said.
“Eighty percent of deaths were euthanized for leg injuries, even though leg injuries are usually treatable. This shows how cruel the racing industry is,” she said.
The tracks with the most fatalities this year were Geelong (7), Angle Park (6), Ipswich (5), Gawler (4) and Wentworth Park (4).
The racing industry is government funded
Despite the obvious animal welfare issues present in the sport, greyhound racing (and racing more broadly) continues to benefit from government funding.
Most of the deaths recorded this year have been at Geelong Racecourse in Victoria, despite the Andrews Government’s $1million donation in 2019 – which accompanied the introduction of a new code of practice designed to ensure safety animals. Spoiler: it doesn’t.
Not to mention the $144 million paid to the Victorian Racing Industry Fund between 2015 and 2022 only.
A similar trend can be seen in New South Wales, where the government vaunted a $25 million investment in the future of greyhound racing last June. It is despite 64 deaths in the state last year, with a supplement 23 already registered this year.
Meanwhile, the Palaszczuk government in Queensland spent $39 million in 2019 on “the nation’s most advanced greyhound racing tracks”.
Tracks are only part of the problem
In addition to the obvious issue of track deaths, Field pointed out that greyhound life outside of racing has its own set of issues.
“Away from the tracks, an emerging crisis in greyhound rehoming is the result of the industry breeding six times more dogs than it can rehom after racing. Other welfare issues include the unnecessary euthanasia, excessive running, lack of reporting and transparency, and no lifelong follow-up,” she said.
As it stands, greyhounds are registered only when they start running – usually at 16 months. With no requirement to register puppies at birth, there is no accountability for what happens to dogs that don’t make it to the trail, we just don’t know the extent of the problem because there is no registration requirement.
Additionally, the industry has been accused of obscuring data and listing deceased dogs as “retired” in the Victorian database, making it even more difficult to grasp the true extent of the problem.
The report can’t even track deaths
Two more greyhounds – Hello I’m Texas and Meeka’s Charm have died since the report was written, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the year to 80.