Dog lovers from across Perth are expected to protest against greyhound racing outside the Cannington racetrack on New Year’s Eve.
The peaceful protest, organised by local greyhound advocacy group Free the Hounds, has become an annual protest with over 75 people and a dozen pet greyhounds dedicating their New Year’s Eve to the cause, displaying creative anti-racing signs and temporary crosses to represent the greyhounds who lost their lives within the racing industry in the year prior.
Free the Hounds has been actively campaigning for an end to greyhound racing in WA since 2015. “Our position is greyhound racing is outdated, inhumane and unsustainable,” said Free the Hounds President, Melissa Harrison.
Racing and Wagering WA’s (RWWA) most recent annual report shows 125 greyhounds in the WA racing industry died in the 2020-21 financial year (up from 101 the previous year) *, including 10 (up from eight the previous year) who died right at the track.
The report also shows a total of 879 injuries were sustained on WA tracks during this period including fractured bones. This too is an increase on last year’s injuries.
“The rate and severity of these injuries are specific to racing and so the only way to eliminate the risk is to ban greyhound racing altogether. These injuries can cause extreme pain and discomfort to the dog, treatment can involve major surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation, and there are often long-term health implications. Some dogs continue to be euthanised due to the severity of their injuries or die under anaesthetic during surgery to fix them.
“These dogs deserve so much better than this, and gambling revenue should never be a justification for this suffering,” said Ms Harrison.
“The popularity of greyhound racing in Australia has been steadily declining – and even more so here in WA. There were just two tracks used for racing in WA in the last racing season and all three require significant modifications to bring them up to a minimum standard as reported by the University of Sydney. With animal welfare becoming a higher priority for more and more members of the community, now is the time to ban this barbaric industry,” said Ms Harrison.
It is also clear that other Industries and the public are becoming more and more frustrated by the fact greyhound and horse racing continue to run even though many outdoor events and music festivals are shut down due to COVID. It’s made even harder to understand when more than 800 greyhound participants are only doing this as a hobby, with approximately just 23 declaring it as their primary source of income.
*RWWA financial year runs 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2021
Free the Hounds Inc
Free the Hounds is a greyhound welfare advocacy group based in Western Australia and launched in August 2015. Free the Hounds is a non-profit organisation incorporated in WA under the Associations Incorporation Act 2015, whose members are deeply concerned about the welfare of greyhounds used and discarded by the racing industry. Our purpose is to prevent the harm and inhumane treatment of greyhounds, including wastage of greyhounds by the racing industry, by informing the public of the facts of greyhound racing and supporting welfare reforms. We support an end to commercial greyhound racing.