More than three years after the NSW Government promised to clean up the greyhound industry many dogs are still disappearing and feared dead in mass graves.
- The NSW independent regulator cannot conduct welfare checks on retired greyhounds under current legislation
- The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds says this gives way to more mass killings
- The regulator told the ABC it was working on “arrangements” with the NSW Government to ensure dogs didn’t slip through the cracks
Following the failed greyhound ban in 2016, the NSW Government committed to whole-of-life tracking for greyhounds to put an end to mass culls.
But the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC), established by the NSW Government, has admitted that is not always happening.
This is due to a legislative restriction which prevents the GWIC from keeping tabs on retired dogs.
“Nothing has changed, it’s only a matter of time before the graves are found,” Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds (CPG) president Dennis Anderson said.
When a greyhound retires or is deemed too slow they are taken off the racing register and should then be re-registered as a pet.
But figures show dogs are still falling through the cracks.
Data from the past 10 years shows that on average 5,700 greyhounds are bred each year in NSW, and about 2,000 are adopted.
In 2016-2017 NSW had the lowest number of births ever recorded due to the ban but in the following 12 months that number rose by 22 per cent to 3,747.
There were about 1,400 adoptions of retired greyhounds.
“Where do the rest go?” Mr Anderson said.
The imbalance is partly because the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act prevents the GWIC from enforcing registrations on the pet register.
The GWIC also does not have the power to check on retired greyhounds once they are rehomed.
“[Our jurisdiction] does not extend to any greyhound that is kept by non-industry participants for purposes not connected to greyhound racing,” the GWIC said.
‘Could give it to mate down the road’
Mr Anderson said it was a clear case of the NSW Government “muzzling” the regulator.
“Nobody from the GWIC tracks those dogs or what conditions they are living in,” he said.
“It’s ridiculous, you could give it to your mate down the road and then it could instantly be killed and no one would know.
“The McHugh inquiry wanted whole-of life-tracking, but the Government has interpreted that to mean whole of life as long as you are racing.”
Justice Michael McHugh investigated the greyhound racing industry in 2015 after the live baiting scandal and found that dogs needed to be tracked for their entire lives.
The inquiry found dogs are sometimes handed over to third parties and then killed to get rid of industry ‘wastage’.
The GWIC told the ABC it was now working with the NSW Office of Local Government to “implement arrangements” which would allow them to register retired greyhounds as pets.
“This will ensure that greyhounds cannot ‘disappear’ off the industry register and not re-appear on the pet register,” a spokesperson for GWIC said.
A spokesperson for the Minister for Racing Kevin Anderson told the ABC there would be a statutory review of the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in coming months.