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Greyhound racing

There are numerous animal welfare issues inherent to greyhound racing.

Overbreeding of dogs, problematic training methods, injuries and deaths during training and races, continuing instances of live-baiting, and the fate of unwanted greyhounds all remain significant concerns.


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The issues

Multiple investigations and formal inquiries into the greyhound racing as recently as August 2023 have revealed several animal welfare issues plaguing the industry.

The cruel practice of illegal live baiting and the regular dumping of unwanted greyhounds in mass uncovered graves was brought to light in a 2015 Four Corners investigation, shocking Australians around the country and leading to increased scrutiny on the industry. Live-baiting continues to be an ongoing issue, with incidents in Victoria in 2019, and concerningly twice in 2023 in South Australia and again in Victoria. Trainers were found to be using small live animals such as possums and rabbits to bait their dogs.

In addition to these shocking revelations, greyhounds used for racing are also at risk of suffering inadequate housing, lack of socialisation and enrichment, injury or death, and being drugged with banned or unregistered substances.

Some of the key animal welfare issues posed by greyhound racing include:

  • An oversupply of greyhounds, due to the need to breed enough greyhounds to ensure the supply of sufficient dogs suitable for racing. This means that each year, dogs are bred who are unsuitable for racing and are then considered left over and unneeded by the industry. Often, it’s not possible to match the number of dogs bred to the capacity to rehome retiring or unraced greyhounds, leaving these healthy dogs homeless and subject to neglect, abuse or euthanasia.
  • A lack of oversight and publicly available information relating to whole of life monitoring and tracing to verify the status and whereabouts. Currently, the industry is not accountable and lacks transparency particularly in relation to the fate of greyhounds who leave the industry.
  • Racing and training related injuries and death.
  • Inadequate socialisation of greyhound puppies and an ongoing lack of opportunities to socialise and express normal behaviours for racing dogs, who may be kept in kennel-like environments for the majority of their racing careers. In addition to being a welfare issue, this can pose barriers to rehoming on retirement.

What needs to change

RSPCA Australia believes that there are significant, ongoing animal welfare issues inherent to the greyhound racing industry.

Until these issues are resolved, the RSPCA does not support greyhound racing.

For as long as greyhound racing persists, we believe the following must happen:

  • Greyhounds should not be exported to other countries for racing.
  • An effective national identification and traceability system for all greyhounds must be developed and implemented, and implemented, with effective oversight, to ensure each greyhound born is accounted for throughout their lifetime.
  • Systems must be implemented to ensure the robustness and transparency of the data gathered (e.g. independent auditing and regular inspections rather than a reliance on self-reporting).
  • Comprehensive data on lifecycle (birth to death) records and injury statistics must be collected and published (this should be mandatory).
  • Independent funding for animal welfare and integrity checks and enforcement must be secured and sustained.
  • Increased checks for banned substances and enforcement of strong penalties must be implemented and sustained.
  • Any greyhound racing must be overseen and regulated by an independent body, with a formal and complete separation of the integrity and regulatory functions from the commercial functions.
  • Compulsory animal welfare standards must be adopted and enforced for greyhounds at all life stages, to eliminate practices that cause injury, pain, suffering or distress, and to ensure all greyhounds have a good quality of life.
  • Formal and effective processes must be introduced to address over-supply and wastage. The industry must expect and ensure that greyhounds will be rehomed as companion animals on retirement and provisions must be made to ensure their wellbeing after racing, including appropriate socialisation throughout their lives.
  • Third party adoptions (i.e. those not through organisations like GAP) should be verified and followed up to ensure they are genuine.
  • Injury rates need to be effectively addressed, racetrack safety improved to reduce injuries, and systems implemented to ensure greyhounds receive adequate treatment and rehabilitation if injured.
  • Continued investigations and surveillance for live baiting and other serious animal welfare offences, and enforcement of strong penalties for any animal welfare offences.

How you can help

  • Write to your local MP to demand more transparency and accountability of the greyhound racing industry
  • Volunteer or donate to a reputable greyhound rescue organisation
  • If you’re looking for a new furry family member, consider adopting an ex-racing greyhound, check your state’s RSPCA adoption page or a reputable greyhound rescue


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RSPCA Greyhound Adoption Booklet
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