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Bled dry - the tragedy of greyhound racing's "wastage"

Bled dry - the fate of greyhound racing's 'wastage'
7.30 recently exposed widespread doping in the greyhound racing industry, and since then they've had a huge response.

Greyhound racing is an industry that a lot of people enjoy, but behind it lies a terrible toll on the dogs. There's a massive toll of injured animals. Many exhibit crate and muzzle sores, and stress from high speed chases. Australia's greyhound industry is the third biggest in the world, and each year Australians wager about $3 billion on the sport.

7.30 Report: Bled dry- the fate of greyhound racing's "wastage"

The ABC has received thousands of emails, calls and Facebook posts, some from insiders who've raised more concerns about the industry, others who claim we didn't show the positive aspects of their sport.

ABC: 7.30 report">Bled dry - the fate of greyhound racing's 'wastage'

In the past year more than 70 dogs have tested positive to banned substances, but insiders say many more cheats go undetected and use popular drugs including cocaine, amphetamines, caffeine and EPO, the performance-enhancing hormone favoured by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.

The industry estimates that some 25,000 greyhounds are bred in Australia each year, for a gambling industry.

The greyhounds who do make it to the track may endure harsh training regimes and are put at significant risk of sustaining serious injuries, such as broken legs, paralysis or head trauma, during training and racing. Some even die from cardiac arrest due to the extreme physical intensity of racing. On many occasions the injuries are 'uneconomical' to treat and the owner will instead have the dog killed.

They will finish racing between the ages of 2 and 4.  Of the chosen dogs only about half reach naming and training age. Thousands of puppies and young dogs are routinely killed.  The racing industry use the euphemism that they are  "humanely euthanased", or kept by their owners or adopted as pets.   The grim reality is that campaigners believe that 20,000 dogs are slaughtered every year. 

Many retired greyhounds are dumped, used for medical research or bled to death for their blood.  In a macabre irony, unwanted and dying greyhounds are being drained of their blood to help with the treatment of other dogs!  It's like "farming" spare body parts, from third world impoverished countries, and risking the lives of the "donors" or killing them, for the benefit of the wealthy.   It's predatory as is assumed that greyhounds, being part of an "industry" rather than pets, have less intrinsic value.

7.30 Report has exposed widespread doping of the racing dogs, but even more saddening and grotesque is that veterinary nurses claim they are being forced to kill some of the 17,000 healthy greyhound dogs believed to be discarded by the industry each year.

SELENA COTTRELL-DORMER, VETERINARY NURSE: You get eight dogs dropped off, oftentimes they will be just, yeah, just absolutely bled to death and euthanased, put in a body bag and put in the freezer and taken away for incineration. That's absolutely routine. No-one would bat an eyelid at that being the reality.

VICTORIA LUXTON-BAIN, VETERINARY NURSE: They would be brought in by a trainer. Normally we would get about three or four dogs and then they would arrive and then they'd be bled within about 48 hours of arriving. So they'd be put under anaesthetic and then bled and then euthanased while under anaesthetic.

Animals and entertainment/gambling industries are not compatible, and inevitably lead to exploitation.  The greyhound racing industry cruelly adds to our already abysmal pool of unwanted animals, doomed for "death row".

Like the horse racing industry's over-breeding and high rates of disposals, each year thousands of dogs never make it to the track because they fail to chase - or simply aren't fast enough.  They then become "wastage" and end up being destroyed.


The Australian greyhound racing industry exports hundreds of greyhounds to supply and stimulate racing industries in other countries, where most of them will also be killed after their racing days. One of the biggest markets is Macau, — where the Canidrome racing track does not allow any dogs to be adopted.

Greyhound racing has been recognised as a cruel sport and therefore banned in 6 states of the USA and also in South Africa, with growing opposition in other countries.  Australia's standard as a first-world country, with humane treatment of animals, is failing to give these dogs a "fair go".  

This "sport" that uses, consumes and disposes of dogs in a wholesale manner and needs to be banned, like blood sports.

Greyhounds maybe fast, but they don't need much exercise.  They are naturally docile and gentle dogs and given the chance they make loving and faithful companions.  

Greyhound rescue - dogs available

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I watched the program about greyhounds and the lasting image for me was that a dog could be wagging its tail one minute and a few minutes later it had been drained of blood, its dead body mere refuse. Apart from the exploitation and cruelty to the dogs, what is this doing to the psyches of the veterinary nurses who do this work?
The ABC ran a show last night the horrors of Surabaya Zoo. Images were the mixed species version of the Rake's Progress to Bedlam. Worse. It was appalling. I knew about it already from a friend who has lived in Indonesia, for many years. Animals in shocking condition crammed in to tiny, filthy cages, malnourished, poisoned even with food contaminated with formaldahide. Animals Australia has put in enormous efforts on behalf of exported live cattle but still it goes on. The horrors of human treatment of animals is overwhelmingly terrible and it is hard to know where to start in changing anything. Somewhere I guess is the answer.

Sign the PETITION: Forcechange

Dear Greyhound Racing NSW Chief Executive Brent Hogan,

A recent inquiry into Australia’s greyhound racing industry uncovered mass euthanasia, mistreatment, drugging, and neglect toward dogs. As the world’s largest dog racing industry, it is imperative that Australia’s standards for treatment are improved and enforced.

Over 3000 greyhounds per year are euthanized after being deemed unprofitable, while only 52 have been adopted into family homes. Reasons for this mass euthanasia span from injuries to simply being not fast enough to race. Some injured dogs are given pain-killing narcotics and forced to race anyway, which causes further detriment to an injury and could result in permanent disability.

Other dogs are given performance-enhancing drugs such as hormones, or conventional drugs such as cocaine, caffeine, or amphetamines which are unlikely to show up on a test of a dog’s blood. Like in humans, these drugs can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems.

Veterinarians report that many dogs surrendered by the racing industry arrive in poor condition. Female dogs grow feeble after birthing too many puppies, while others show signs of neglect and starvation. Some even require emergency treatment – one dog lost its eye after an angry owner hit it with a belt buckle.

I demand that tighter regulations be imposed to cut down on Australia’s dog racing cruelty. Fewer dogs should be bred per year to cut down on the rate of unwanted dogs, while more funds should be allotted to adoption programs and shelters that take in the industry’s unwanted dogs. Owners that neglect and force drugs upon their dogs should immediately lose their ability to race and breed greyhounds.


[Your Name Here]

Revelations about the barbaric activity of using live "bait" for greyhound racing training have included details about the use of guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, kittens and possums which have had their claws and teeth removed so they can't hurt the dogs, and being mauled to death in training sessions.

RSPCA NSW chief inspector David O'Shannessy said they had also received anonymous complaints but so far they had been unable to substantiate the claims.

Greyhound Racing NSW officials estimate that 3000 unwanted dogs a year are killed. But other estimates are as high as 6000. It is self regulated and because of that is an attractive target for corruption pressures. It's the case of "fox in charge of the chickens", and the honest ones lose out.

Rehoming greyhounds once they had finished their racing career was a problem because it's ''scandalously low'' the numbers who find new homes.

The inquiry has also heard that dogs have been mistreated, starved and dumped.

Vets claim live animals are used as bait to train greyhounds

Any use of animals for entertainment or industries is inherently flawed, and open to abuse and disposal of animals once they are not longer "useful" or valued commodities.

Thousands of healthy greyhound puppies are disappearing, presumed killed, every year, but their deaths are not reported or investigated by the $144 million greyhound racing industry.

Shocking details about puppy farming and the mass killing of the pups have emerged as a record number of people and organisations told a NSW parliamentary inquiry about the dark practices of the greyhound industry.

In 2011, up to 3440 puppies were born in registered litters but disappeared before they were named. Naming is a prerequisite for the dogs to race.

''The industry is characterised by routine killings of puppies and dogs, greed and profits,'' a submission by rescue group Amazing Greys says.

It's not just puppies that are disappearing. There were possibly thousands of others from litters that had never been registered and discarded if they were injured or too slow. He said only a tiny fraction of these ''surplus dogs'' were found homes

Self-regulation in industries doesn't work. When animals are involved, the same groups profiting from their breeding, usage and disposal are those who are supposed to be in charge of their welfare! It's doomed to fail, similarly to the live export and other livestock industries.

Inquiry told of cruelties as greyhound slaughter continues unchecked