The greyhound racing industry in Australia is the third largest of its kind in the world, with an estimated average of $73.4 million placed each year on bets; however this money is tarnished with the blood of animals who don’t have voices and who desperately need justice. Each year in Australia 20,000 greyhound pups are whelped for racing and an estimated 40% of these dogs never actually make it to the racetrack, with most of them being euthanized. Tragically 18,000 greyhounds suffer the repercussions of the industries overbreeding and profiteering practices and are euthanized or killed in horribly inhumane ways. Once a greyhound is considered unfit to race they’re highly likely to be put down, with the average age being only four years old. Greyhound adoption programs have been established throughout Australia to counter these high rates of overbreeding and euthanasia and although they make a difference only 4% of these animals are actually rehomed.
Surplus dogs bred in Australia are often exported to countries throughout Asia, including South Korea and China. In these countries no substantive animal welfare laws exist which would deter acts of cruelty towards these animals, acts which would otherwise be illegal in accordance with Australian law, thus raising serious questions about why this practice is allowed to occur. Animal welfare organisations in these countries have reported that greyhounds are disposed of through grossly inhumane methods with some even being sold into the dog meat industry. Although technically illegal in South Korea there still remains a huge black-market for dog meat, while in contrast it is still legal in China with demand outweighing supply. The process of preparing this dog meat often involves horrific methods of slaughter, with dogs reportedly being beaten to death to tenderise the meat.
The greyhounds that remain in Australia to race are put at significant risk of suffering broken bones, spinal trauma, torn muscles, ligament injury and head trauma and are also exposed to the cruel and grotesque practice of live baiting. Live baiting is an illegal method of training greyhounds that uses live animals as lures to increase the bloodlust in the dogs in order to gain a competitive edge. The animals which are used as bait may be recycled multiple times and in the process suffer unimaginable pain until they eventually die. Isn’t the age old saying that ‘dogs are man’s best friend’, then why are we treating our best friends like this?