Australian racing industry ‘failing miserably’ to rehome greyhounds as adoption flatlines | Animal welfare

The rehoming of Australian racing industry dogs has flatlined in the last three years, according to research by the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds.

Just over 2,000 dogs were rehomed annually by industry adoption bodies, a figure that has not increased since 2017-18, a CPG report found.

The national rate of greyhound breeding in 2020–21 was about six times the racing industry’s capacity to rehome them via its official adoption programs, the CPG estimates. “This means the racing industry will continue to fail miserably in convincing the community it has reformed,” the report said.

The CPG’s national spokesperson, Kylie Field, said community-run rescue groups rehomed more greyhounds compared to industry programs in all states except Queensland and Western Australia. “It’s a grassroots community movement to keep these dogs safe and alive and rehabilitated,” she said.

“There are more greyhounds sitting in houses now than there probably ever has been,” Field said. “The breeding numbers are still way too high to ever, ever rehome the amount of greyhounds that there are out there.”

Greater accountability on rehoming and breeding was necessary, Field said, citing opinion polling that suggested most Australians did not support dog racing. “Where are we going to be in five years’ time if the government doesn’t step in and tighten up legislation around breeding of these dogs?” she said.

The CPG also found that the number of pups who were not named had doubled. “That just means that they untraceable,” Field said. “If you don’t register the dog … the dog can disappear.”

The report’s findings come amid allegations of live baiting in South Australia this week.

An SA greyhound trainer had their licence and registration suspended after Greyhound Racing SA and the RSPCA conducted a snap search of the trainer’s property north of Adelaide on Wednesday.

“If confirmed, this would be the first case of live baiting ever recorded in South Australia,” Greyhound Racing SA said in a statement on Thursday. “Live baiting is an abhorrent practice and goes against everything Greyhound Racing SA stands for as an organisation, a sport and a community.”

Under local rules of racing, any trainer found to be live baiting faces a mandatory lifetime ban. The practice is prohibited under SA’s animal welfare laws, with anyone found guilty facing a maximum four-year jail term or a $50,000 fine.

“This is the first case of live baiting [in SA] that’s been caught,” Field said. “This is a common practice across this industry and it has not stopped.”

The greyhound industry’s national turnover rose to a reported $9.4bn in 2020-21.

– with AAP