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The RSPCA condemns the illegal and horrific use of live animals for baiting in the training of racing greyhounds and is calling for the immediate suspension of all those implicated, close monitoring of the well-being of dogs at risk and an independent overhaul of the regulatory arrangements for the greyhound racing industry.

ABC Four Corners has tonight shown disturbing evidence of live rabbits, possums and piglets being used to train greyhounds. These helpless animals are tied onto mechanical lures and hurled at speed around the track while greyhounds are released to pursue, catch and maul them. Live baiting is illegal across Australia.

RSPCA Australia CEO Heather Neil said multiple greyhound trainers including those with a high profile in the industry across three states are implicated, indicating an entrenched industry culture where animal cruelty and suffering is seen by some as an accepted cost of the sport.

“If it is this widespread in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, it would be naïve to think it isn’t happening elsewhere,” said Ms Neil.

“The callous disregard for animal suffering shown by individuals captured in this footage should see the state and territory racing bodies immediately suspending the trainers and others implicated; the 22 already suspended is likely to represent only the tip of the iceberg.

“The RSPCA is calling on each state and territory government to immediately instigate an independent review of the regulatory arrangements for the greyhound industry in their jurisdiction.

“What ABC Four Corners has exposed is the abject failure of the greyhound racing industry to effectively regulate its own practices. It begs the question, how could this culture of cruelty have gone undetected by racing authorities?

“Urgent amendments to animal welfare laws in each state and territory are also needed to strengthen offences, enforcement, and penalties for perpetrators who take part in the barbaric practice of live baiting.

“There are likely hundreds of dogs currently being trained by those individuals implicated or already suspended that will now be at risk of euthanasia. Greyhound authorities need to closely track these dogs, waive fees for adoption programs and substantially increase the support given to adoption initiatives,” said Ms Neil.

RSPCA Australia can confirm RSPCA NSW, RSPCA Queensland, and RSPCA Victoria are already investigating allegations of live baiting within the greyhound racing industry.

The RSPCA urges anyone who is concerned about an animal’s welfare or has information regarding animal cruelty to contact their local RSPCA immediately: rspca.org.au/report-cruelty

For more information on the RSPCA’s concerns about the serious animal welfare issues in greyhound racing see here.

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