Greyhound racing in Australia

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Greyhound racing in Australia is a sport and regular gambling activity. In 2015, there were more than 300,000 greyhounds in 40,000 races in Australia. A$4 billion a year is gambled on the results.[1] Australia is one of eight countries with a significant greyhound racing industry.[2]

Regulation[edit]

Each Australian state and territory has a greyhound racing body that regulates the racing, training and animal welfare of greyhounds in that state or territory. Greyhound Racing New South Wales (GRNSW) and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) are the two largest authorities, governing over 40 racetracks. The Queensland Greyhound Racing Authority (QGRA), the Western Australian Greyhound Racing Association (WAGRA), Tasracing, Greyhound Racing South Australia (GRSA), Northern Territory Racing Authority, and the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club (CGRC), all contribute to running and monitoring of greyhound racing and animal welfare of greyhounds in Australia.

History[edit]

New South Wales[edit]

In 1927 Frederick 'Judge' Swindell established the Greyhound Coursing Association and the first meeting was held using a 'tin hare' at Epping Racecourse (Harold Park). From 1928 until 1931 betting was banned and in 1939 the NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association was founded. In 1979, live hare coursing and other similar activities, including live baiting, was banned in NSW under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and in 1985 Wentworth Park became the racing headquarters of NSW. In 2009, the government formed a new legislation, known as the Greyhound Racing Act 2009 which made provisions in regards to the control and regulation of the industry and the Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) then became responsible for the regulatory affairs of the sport in addition to the commercial aspects.[3]

In February 2015, the industry came under severe scrutiny following the airing of the ABC program Four Corners.[4] A series of media reports called the Australian greyhound racing live baiting scandal detailed widespread use of live bait animals in the training of racing greyhounds.[1] Despite self-regulatory efforts to address the issue of live baiting and other animal welfare issues,[5] the revelation led to suspensions, inquiries, widespread condemnation of the practice, and, following an inquiry, to the banning of greyhound racing in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory with effect from 1 July 2017,[6][7][8] following the passage of legislation.[9][10] However the ban was repealed by Mike Baird[11] on 11 October 2016. The appointment of the NSW Greyhound Reform Panel made 122 recommendations to the NSW government, of which 121 were adopted.[12] Victoria commissioned the Perna Report[13] and Queensland the MacSporran report.[14] As part of the NSW government recommendations, it created GWIC (Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission), which is a taxpayer funded, non-industry regulator of the greyhound racing industry.

Tasmania[edit]

Tasracing which was established in November 2008 is responsible for the strategic direction and funding, while the Office of Racing Integrity Tasmania (ORI) is responsible for probity and integrity.[15]

Victoria[edit]

See Greyhound Racing Victoria

Western Australia[edit]

In 1981, the Western Australian Greyhound Racing Association (WAGRA) was established under the Western Australian Greyhound Racing Association Act. Cannington Greyhounds was the first track in Western Australia, opening in 1974 and was consequently transferred to the WAGRA.[16]

Venues[edit]

There are 65 racing venues in Australia, including at least one in each state capital: Wentworth Park in Glebe, Sydney; TABtouch Park Cannington in Perth; Greyhound Park in Angle Park, Adelaide; Albion Park in Brisbane; and Sandown Greyhounds in Melbourne.[17] Other major locations include the Illawarra town of Dapto, and Hobart and Launceston, in Tasmania.

New South Wales[18]
  • Appin Way
  • Armidale
  • Bathurst
  • Broken Hill
  • Bulli
  • Casino
  • Coonabarabran
  • Coonamble
  • Cowra
  • Dapto
  • Dubbo
  • Gosford
  • Goulburn
  • Grafton
  • Gunnedah
  • Kempsey
  • Lismore
  • Lithgow
  • Maitland
  • Moree
  • Mudgee
  • Muswellbrook
  • Nowra
  • Newcastle - The Gardens
  • Potts Park
  • Richmond
  • South Coast
  • Tamworth
  • Taree
  • Wentworth Park
Victoria[19]
South Australia[20]
  • Angle Park
  • Gawler
  • Murray Bridge
  • Mt Gambier
  • Port Augusta
Western Australia[21]
Queensland[22]
  • Bundaberg
  • Townsville
  • Cairns
  • Ipswich
  • Albion Park
  • Capalaba
Tasmania[23]
  • Hobart
  • Devonport
  • Launceston
Northern Territory
  • Darwin
ACT
  • Canberra

Notable Australian greyhounds[edit]

  • Fernando Bale, considered by some to be the greatest racer to date

Major races[edit]

NSW hosts the world's richest race, the Million Dollar Chase in October at Wentworth Park. The Melbourne Cup for greyhounds is was previously the world's richest greyhound race, with a prize pool of A$600,000 in 2015.[24] In Sydney, the 2013 Golden Easter Egg had a first prize of A$250,000.[25]

Adoption[edit]

Many adoption programs have been set up throughout Australia. There are industry programs and non-industry rescue groups (which are usually charities).[26] Greyhounds are available for adoption in most parts of Australia.[27] Families that have adopted greyhounds soon discover that these dogs are naturally gentle, loving and, surprisingly, don't need a lot of exercise. The industry's Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) operates in most states but does not re-home all ex-racing greyhounds. In 2018, 257 greyhounds (38%) failed the New South Wales rehoming test.[28]

Adoption has been hampered in states and territories which cling to old-fashioned beliefs about the need to muzzle pet greyhounds.[29] Both the RSPCA and the Australian Veterinary Association recommend against muzzles for companion animal greyhounds.[30] Some states and councils still require greyhounds to wear a muzzle in public, while NSW, Victoria and the ACT have removed the requirement. RSPCA VIC CEO Dr Liz Walker said muzzle laws reduce greyhounds’ adoptability. The idea of muzzling greyhounds was introduced many years ago to stop them injuring themselves during a race. They race with their mouths open (which allows more air into lungs), so accidental bumping of one dog against another can cause cuts and grazes from accidental contact with teeth. The reason that muzzling was introduced was not because greyhounds are aggressive. In fact, they are one of the most gentle breeds and highly suitable for adoption if properly socialised.[31]

Criticism[edit]

New South Wales (GRNSW) Chief Executive Brent Hogan said in 2013 that an estimated 3,000 greyhounds are euthanized each year in that state alone.[32] Also in 2013, ABC News revealed that some greyhounds were given to vets as blood donors and then euthanised.[33][34]In 2015, the Australian Veterinary Association stated that all greyhounds bred for racing should be registered with an independent authority in order to track their life time movements.[35]

In June 2016, Australian former High Court judge Michael McHugh conducted a Special Commission of Inquiry for the Australian state of New South Wales.[36] Other key findings in the report included: a high death rate, where at least 48,891 uncompetitive greyhounds were euthanised over the past twelve years and the under reporting of greyhound deaths and injuries.[37] The report also found up to twenty percent of trainers engaged in illegal live baiting practices, and that for the industry to remain viable, 2,000 to 4,000 greyhounds would still be euthanised each year.[38]

The Australian greyhound racing industry body, Greyhounds Australasia, admitted in a leaked internal memo that "this industry is responsible for the unnecessary deaths of anywhere between 13,000 and 17,000 healthy greyhounds a year." Greyhound Racing Victoria has also admitted to the practice.[39] In 2016, 179 trainers were charged with illegal exports to Macau, China, a practice that had benn banned during 2013,[40] [41] this led to Qantas announcing they would no longer transport ex-racers.[42]

Popular culture[edit]

In Australian slang, the term Dapto dog is rhyming slang for wog, a pejorative for a person of Mediterranean background,[43] active in greyhound racing in Dapto in the 1950s as represented on stage by the Griffin Theatre Company with the 2015 production of Dapto Chaser.[44] Dapto is also home to Australia's largest greyhound pup auctions in Australia.[45]

Notable Australian owners of racing greyhounds include Tony Lockett,[45] Tim Cahill,[46] and Ricky Ponting.[47]

In Australian English, the term "plumpton" (named for the village in Sussex) has been used for an enclosed racecourse for greyhounds.[48]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Meldrum-Hanna, Caro; Clark, Sam (18 February 2015). "Making a Killing". Four Corners. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Greyhound racing". Animals Australia. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  3. ^ "New South Wales Greyhound Racing". Australian Racing Greyhound.
  4. ^ "then and Now". GRSNW.
  5. ^ "Then and Now: 12 Months of Reform" (PDF). Greyhound Racing NSW. February 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Greyhound racing to be banned in New South Wales, Baird Government announces". ABC News. Australia. 7 July 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  7. ^ Roots, Chris (18 February 2015). "Greyhound racing live baiting revelations should be a turning point for industry, says new chief executive". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  8. ^ "NSW Premier Mike Baird announces ban on greyhound racing after Special Commission of Inquiry". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 July 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  9. ^ Fogarty, Siobhan (24 August 2016). "Greyhound racing ban: Nationals MPs cross floor as bill passes Parliament". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  10. ^ Nicholls, Sean (24 August 2016). "Greyhound racing banned after bill passes NSW parliament". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  11. ^ "New South Wales reverses greyhound racing ban". BBC News.
  12. ^ "Panel Report" (PDF). Greyhound Industry Reform Panel.
  13. ^ "Perna Report". Greyhound Racing Victoria.
  14. ^ "MacSporran Report". Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.
  15. ^ "Who We Are". Tasracing.
  16. ^ "GREYHOUND RACING IN WA". Racing and Wagering, Western Australia.
  17. ^ Ernst, Katherine (11 September 2015). "Greyhound racing tracks in Australia". Australian Greyhound Racing. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  18. ^ "New South Wales Greyhound Tracks". Australia Greyhound Racing. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  19. ^ http://www.grv.org.au (22 November 2013). "Venues". GRV. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  20. ^ "The Dogs | GRSA | Greyhound Racing News, Form, Results & Replays". sa.thedogs.com.au. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  21. ^ "Home". Greyhounds WA. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Queensland Club Map". Racing Queensland. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Racing Information - Tasracing". Tasracing. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  24. ^ "TAB Melbourne Cup". Sandown Greyhounds. 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  25. ^ Georgakopoulos, Chris (28 March 2013). "Cranebrooks John and Minnie Finn will race two greyhounds in the Golden Easter Egg final". Penrith Press. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  26. ^ "Your guide to adopting or fostering a greyhound". www.animalsaustralia.org. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  27. ^ "Every Greyhound - Looking for a greyhound to adopt?". Every Greyhound. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  28. ^ "Third of retired greyhounds could be put down for failing rehoming test". The New Daily. 20 September 2018. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  29. ^ "Laws and Advocacy". greyhoundequality.org. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  30. ^ "Should pet greyhounds have to wear muzzles? – RSPCA Knowledgebase". Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  31. ^ "Facts About Greyhound Dogs | Blog". RSPCA Queensland. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  32. ^ "About 3000 unwanted greyhound racing dogs put down each year in NSW". The Australian. 15 November 2013.
  33. ^ Rubinsztein-Dunlop, Sean (7 November 2013). "Unwanted greyhounds drained of blood then euthanised". ABC News. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  34. ^ "Greyhound racing industry reveals casualty figures in SA". ABC News. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  35. ^ "Greyhound racing industry: Vet Association calls for dogs to be registered with independent authority to protect them". ABC News.
  36. ^ "Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in New South Wales" (PDF). nsw.gov.au.
  37. ^ Rubinsztein-Dunlop, Sean; Meldrum-Hanna, Caro (14 July 2016). "'The tail had been torn off': Greyhound racing insider lifts lid on animal cruelty". ABC News. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  38. ^ "Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in New South Wales" (PDF). www.greyhoundracinginquiry.justice.nsw.gov.au.
  39. ^ Burin, Margaret (12 October 2016). "What happens to racing greyhounds after their time on the track is up?". ABC News. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  40. ^ "179 greyhound trainers charged over unauthorised exports". ABC News. 9 June 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  41. ^ Meldrum-Hanna, Caro; Clark, Sam (9 December 2015). "'Slow' Australian greyhounds being put on 'death row' in Asia". ABC News. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  42. ^ "Qantas ceases greyhound exports to Asia following damning report". ABC News. 12 December 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  43. ^ "Dapto dog". Australian slang: Slang Dictionary. 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  44. ^ Blake, Elissa (2 July 2015). "Griffin Theatre's Dapto Chaser goes to the dogs". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  45. ^ a b Cockington, James (20 June 2012). "This is no slumdog". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  46. ^ "Tim Cahill could win richest greyhound race". The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 April 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  47. ^ "Ricky Ponting goes quiet on greyhound defence". Financial Review. Australia. 18 August 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  48. ^ W. S. Ramson, ed. (1988). The Australian National Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 487. ISBN 0 19 554736 5.

External links[edit]