Greyhound racing industry given two years to clean up its act
A video shot in Murray Bridge, showing alleged animal cruelty on a property owned by prominent local trainers, looks like sparking major changes in the industry.
Stories create community – that’s why this recent story is now free to read. You can help Murray Bridge News tell our community’s stories by subscribing today.
South Australia’s greyhound racing industry has been given two years to clean up its act after a landmark review prompted by alleged acts of cruelty in Murray Bridge.
A disturbing video shot at the property of two Murray Bridge trainers, and published by ABC Adelaide in July, led the state government to announce a major inquiry into the industry the following month.
On Thursday morning, reviewer Graham Ashton published his recommendations for “considerable” reform.
He painted a picture of a sport which traced its Australian roots back to 1788, but which had become captive to gambling and had lost sight of the need for better animal welfare.
“Almost all” racing greyhounds were eventually injured on the track, he said.
Worse, “there is a practice of greyhounds being euthanised within 48 hours of an on track serious injury that might otherwise be considered amenable to treatment through surgery or other means”.
When they were not at a track, most racing greyhounds spent almost all of their time in their kennels, Mr Ashton found.
He also suggested that too many greyhounds were being bred for the industry; there was now a backlog of “at least 186” who needed adoption.
Stories create community. You can help Murray Bridge News tell our community’s stories.
He made 86 recommendations for reform, including the appointment of a greyhound industry reform inspector.
If the inspector was not satisfied with the state of the industry in two years’ time, Mr Ashton said, it should not be allowed to continue in South Australia.
“Now is an important time for change in the South Australian greyhound racing industry,” he said.
“New standards are recommended in the report for caring for greyhounds that I believe would bridge the gap between current industry practices and community expectations.
“It is imperative for the future of this sport that these changes are achieved.”
Premier Peter Malinauskas made it clear that if the industry did not clean up its act, it would not be allowed to continue.
“I, like everyone, was appalled by the images of alleged abuse of greyhounds which confronted us earlier this year,” he said.
“The findings of this inquiry … are sobering and, quite frankly, have left me disappointed and angry.
“The greyhound industry must change urgently, or lose the broader support of South Australians to continue operating.”