Australia's greyhound racing industry has been accused of “barbaric” cruelty by a government report, raising concerns about the treatment of dogs and other animals by trainers and racers associated with the sport. The new report follows the release of video footage earlier this year, revealing how trainers use live animals to bait racing greyhounds.
The report from the Commission of Inquiry, headed by Queen's Counsel Alan MacSporran, was delivered to the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Monday. The fact that trainers had not bothered to hide their “barbaric” treatment of animals “tells its own story,” MacSporran said, BBC reported, adding that several trainers have been suspended across the country, while some have been permanently banned from racing greyhounds.
“Public confidence may have been dealt an almost terminal blow by the exposure of what is likely to have been a widespread practice of live baiting in the greyhound racing industry,” according to the report. “To put it simply, if those in the industry have participated in the archaic and barbaric practice of live baiting they have let the entire industry down and have treated the public with disdain.”
The practice of using living animals as bait in the sport was exposed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in February when it aired footage of greyhounds chasing animals, such as pigs, possums and rabbits, around racing tracks. Following the revelation, four Australian states, including New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, had launched inquiries into greyhound racing, BBC reported.
In April, authorities also found 55 greyhound carcasses dumped in a wildflower reserve on the coast of Queensland. Palaszczuk called the discovery of the mass graves “deeply disturbing,” and has reportedly said that those responsible “will be brought to justice.” The report, which will be presented in the Queensland parliament Monday, describes how small animals are used to “blood” greyhounds, while dogs that lose too many races are brutally treated and killed.
Mark Townend, CEO of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Queensland, also criticized the sport for being supported by taxpayer money. “This is no different to a commercial business, it should be funded by those involved with it, not the general taxpayer and I hope the Government goes down that path,” Townend told ABC.