16 March 2023

Greyhound destroyed after Goulburn race collision

| John Thistleton
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Greyhounds face a grim future in the racing industry say welfare advocates, but a commission says better tracks will reduce injuries. Photo: Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds.

The death on Friday night (10 March) of a greyhound at a Goulburn race meeting and multiple injuries on the track show an industry that is not taking animal welfare seriously says the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds.

In race 10, Mobile Doll May collided with other dogs at the home turn and fell, sustaining a fractured foreleg and dislocated wrist. She was euthanised by the on-track vet. According to the CPG, footage of the collision has been edited from the official race video.

CPG director Kylie Field said Mobile Doll May was the first Goulburn death this year. Four other dogs were injured at the same race meeting, two with major injuries.

READ ALSO Goulburn Greyhound Racing Club’s new straight track to reduce injuries

The Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission confirmed 43 injuries at the Goulburn track so far this year, compared to 27 injuries for the same period in 2022, but said the increase was due to a higher number of minor injuries recorded.

CPG said the greyhound racing industry is censoring videos of dogs being killed or injured on the track. “As soon as a dog is injured or killed the video that records the race is not uploaded to where it is meant to be, for transparency. It is getting quite noticeable,” she said.

Ms Field said videos were not being uploaded because the industry doesn’t want the public to see these deaths. “They are so horrendously graphic and awful, the public would be outraged, even more than what they are now,” she said.

(The replay of race 10 in Goulburn on Friday night is not included with the steward’s report, as are replays of the other races.)

Asked about the dog’s death and editing of the videos, Greyhound Racing NSW said it refutes any propaganda distributed by the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds.

In a statement, the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission said Mobile Doll May’s injuries meant the greyhound could not be considered for the industry’s care scheme which provides ambulatory, surgical and rehabilitation care for greyhounds injured in any race or trial.

The collision and subsequent death of the dog were referred to the commission’s race injury review panel for analysis. “Our condolences go out to the trainer, owners and connections of Mobile Doll May,” GWIC said.

“While such outcomes have reduced across the industry in NSW by more than 50 per cent (from 1.7 per 1000 starts to 0.5 per 1000 starts) over the past four years, the industry is committed to the highest welfare for its canine athletes and has a renewed focus and determination to see reductions in serious injury rates.

The commission said tracks including Goulburn were being upgraded, and other measures were being explored to reduce serious injuries.

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The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds says straight tracks won’t make a difference. Ms Field said owners still raced their dogs on curved tracks, despite having access to straight tracks. Running in a straight direction was not a solution either. “If a dog collides with another one on a straight track, they are still going to have a catastrophic injury,” she said.

“There is no such thing as a safe track. All the big, new multi-million-dollar racetracks were advertised as safe, yet they still kill and maim dogs just like the old tracks,” she said.

Greyhounds can reach 60 to 80 km/h and can weigh up to 30 kilos, which made them vulnerable to injuries while racing, Ms Field said, but the greyhound industry was unconcerned about welfare and was focussed on gambling revenue and international betting agencies which had an undue influence on the NSW Government.

GCP says 12 greyhounds have been killed on NSW tracks so far this year; for the same period last year, seven NSW greyhounds had died.

Meanwhile, Greyhound Racing NSW and Goulburn Greyhound Racing Club’s development application for a $6 million straight greyhound racetrack and other associated improvements at the Goulburn Recreation Ground is under assessment. Goulburn Mulwaree Council is expected to receive a planning report on the proposal in April.

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