Greyhound Racing New South Wales [GRNSW] has “been a failure”, and as many as nine in 10 greyhound trainers live bait with animals, an inquiry into the sport has heard.
The inquiry was also told that the practice might be “the tip of the iceberg” of animal abuses in the sport and that the industry ran off the “mass slaughter of healthy young dogs”, Fairfax media reported.
An unnamed witness claimed 85 to 90 per cent of greyhound trainers used live baiting or employed others to do it for them.
Counsel assisting the Special Commission of Inquiry, Stephen Rushton, SC, also said it was a “myth” that GRNSW put the welfare on animals first.
“I expect evidence will be given this week that live baiting was seen as a traditional and necessary method of training young greyhounds,” Mr Rushton said.
“It is a widespread method of training used in this state, used over many years.”
In his opening address to the inquiry, Mr Rushton said: “Thousands and thousands of healthy young greyhounds are destroyed for no other reason than that they did not cut the mustard.”
He took aim at GRNSW for admitting animal welfare had been treated by it as a “hygiene issue”.
“What can you say in defence of that?” Mr Rushton asked.
“If I was conducting a court case now, commissioner, I would sit down now.”
The inquiry’s commissioner – former High Court judge Michael McHugh, QC – will look over 30,000 pages of documents and 115 hours of footage.
Australia is only one of eight countries in the world where greyhound racing is still legal.
Mr McHugh will deliver his recommendations next March.