Three state governments have announced reviews into the greyhound racing industry after disturbing revelations of live baiting.
An ABC report on Monday night aired footage showing live piglets, possums and rabbits being tied to mechanical lures before being chased and mauled to death by dogs during training sessions.
Live baiting has been banned and criminalised for decades, but trainers and owners across the country have been using the illegal training method in the belief that it will improve a dog’s performance.
The NSW government will extend the time for submissions to its greyhound law review by two weeks after the animal cruelty footage aired on TV.
Minister for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing Troy Grant said he was shocked and appalled by “the absolutely abhorrent and distressing footage” on Monday night’s ABC Four Corners report.
“Animal cruelty is unacceptable, and any person concerned about a breach should contact one of the enforcement agencies – RSPCA NSW, the Animal Welfare League NSW or NSW Police,” Mr Grant said.
The Victorian government has also announced two separate investigations into the dog racing industry after Monday night’s report. The state’s chief veterinary officer will undertake a broad investigation into the industry, while the racing integrity commissioner will carry out an independent probe.
Racing Minister Martin Pakula said the Victorian government would also spend $3 million beefing up Greyhound Racing Victoria’s (GRV) animal welfare and integrity measures.
The head of Racing Queensland, Kevin Dixon, said the industry was working with authorities to stamp out the a practice that he also described as “abhorrent”.
“We’ve said we’re going to really beef up the activity that we can with those other organisations,” he said. “We’re prepared to spend the money and we’re urged to do that by the people in the greyhound industry who want to see us get on top of this problem.”
The RSPCA has called on state and territory governments to launch independent reviews of the laws in their greyhound industries.
“What we’ve seen on that footage last night is nothing short of disgraceful,” RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Colman told ABC Radio.
GRNSW chief executive Brent Hogan said his organisation needs greater powers to stamp out animal cruelty.
“What we need to look at is the powers around surveillance and inspections – and we need to make sure those powers are sufficient to allow us to weed out activities of the type we saw last night,” he told ABC Radio.
He hoped the trainers featured in the Four Corners report would be punished to the full extent of the law.
“There is no place whatsoever for animal cruelty of any kind in our sport.
“Animal cruelty is totally unacceptable and anyone found guilty of a cruelty offence is not welcome in the sport,” Mr Hogan said in a statement.
—with AAP, ABC