Tasmania’s greyhound racing clubs have responded to what they call “a dishonest campaign of misinformation” against the industry that they believe is driven by an activist minority.
Vice chair of Hobart Greyhound Racing Club Graeme Barber says the greyhound racing industry in Tasmania contributes $53.2 million per year in economic benefits to the state and leads the way in animal welfare.
To counter sensationalism and inform people of the truth, local clubs have backed a national initiative to promote a ‘Greyhound Facts’ website and increase social media engagement.
According to Mr Barber, the response from Tasmanians has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We are not trying to convince everyone to love our sport, but to simply inform the public with truth and facts, so they can make up their own mind,” he said.
“The fact is our dogs are loved and cared for by their owners just like they’d care for one of their children.”
He acknowledged that there were some issues many years ago but said the industry has since implemented “some of the tightest policies around animal welfare ever seen.”
“Greyhounds are the only dog breed where strict and detailed welfare guidelines are enshrined by regulation, and tracks are the safest they can be with considerable and ongoing investment into track rebuilds and improvements.”
Mr Barber pointed out that the number of greyhound injuries are far less than the injuries and deaths of other dogs and pets across Australia through accidents, sickness, injury and mistreatment.
“Injuries are an unfortunate aspect of all sports including human sports, however those who oppose greyhound racing will quote figures out of context in order to mislead.”
“There are over 30,000 greyhound starts every month across Australia, and almost all injuries are extremely minor. We love our dogs so much that we will rest a dog even for a small bruise or sore toe.”
He also explained that unlike other domestic dog breeds who are often euthanased when they incur a serious injury, when a Greyhound is injured and cannot race again, there is funding available through the ‘track injury rebate scheme’.
“It is now rare that a dog is euthanased. Greyhounds are more protected than other domestic dogs and pets.”
Mr Barber encouraged those seeking the truth to visit the website – www.greyhoundfacts.com.au – and also visit a race meeting.
“Anyone who watches a race and views the interactions between the dogs and their trainers will see that greyhounds don’t race because they have to, they do it because they love it.”