House debates

Monday, 8 February 2016

Statements by Members

Greyhound Racing

1:32 pm

Photo of Melissa ParkeMelissa Parke (Fremantle, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Health) Share this | | Hansard source

This weekend rallies were held across the country calling for an end to greyhound racing. Fremantle's Kings Square alone saw more than 300 people come together. The rallies come ahead of the New South Wales special commission inquiry, expected to report in March.

A year after the ABC's Four Corners program, together with Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland, revealed evidence of live baiting, which led to multiple arrests, suspensions and jail terms, serious concerns remain. Founder of the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, Dr Eleonora Gullone, argues that:

Despite the spotlight being on them, they continue to engage in these cruel practices.

In addition to the use of live baiting, Dr Gullone estimates a horrifying 94 per cent of greyhounds bred each year are put down. If they do make it to the racetrack, their prospects are often not much better. Animals Australia reveals that five dogs are killed and 200 injured every week in official races. At retirement, only one in five will be used for breeding or rehomed. The rest, roughly 18,000 a year, will be killed. Thousands more are exported to Macau, Vietnam and other countries.

Greyhounds Australasia has developed a 'passport' system, requiring its members to meet animal welfare standards before greyhounds can be exported. However, nonmembers are free to do the wrong thing. The federal government should enact export laws to prohibit the export of greyhounds for racing. However, thus far, Minister Joyce has refused to do so.

It is evident that the welfare of greyhounds must become a greater priority for the federal and state governments. Greyhound exports should be prohibited and greyhound racing should be ended. Until this occurs, there must be independent regulation and greater oversight by federal and state governments, with an end to government funding.