DOGS DY­ING TO RACE

Dog safety group lifts lid on costs of rac­ing in Bundy

NewsMail - - FRONT PAGE - MIKAYLA HAUPT mikayla.haupt@news-mail.com.au

A GREY­HOUND was eu­thanised at each of the Bund­aberg Grey­hound Rac­ing Club’s last three race meets in 2019, it has been re­vealed.

The Coali­tion for the Pro­tec­tion of Grey­hounds has lifted the lid on the hor­ror faced by dogs at Thabeban Park, say­ing it is ap­palled by the sta­tis­tics.

Eight dogs were killed at the track dur­ing 2019 af­ter be­com­ing in­jured dur­ing rac­ing.

IT’S hardly the tri­fecta pun­ters were bet­ting on, but the last three Bund­aberg grey­hound meets in 2019 saw three dogs eu­thanised – one at each meet – af­ter suf­fer­ing an in­jury, ac­cord­ing to the lo­cal stew­ard re­ports.

Brook­lyn Rocks was eu­thanised on De­cem­ber 30, Em­u­lat­ing Chloe on De­cem­ber 23 and Queen Poppy on De­cem­ber 16.

Those three deaths brought the to­tal up to eight grey­hounds who ran out of the box for the last time at the Bund­aberg track last year, af­ter they were eu­thanised af­ter sus­tain­ing an in­jury.

Two other grey­hounds were eu­thanised at the Bund­aberg track on Oc­to­ber 14, Whippy Midget and Tyler Lee.

Coali­tion for the Pro­tec­tion of Grey­hounds na­tional vice pres­i­dent Den­nis An­der­son said he was “ap­palled” by the re­gion’s sta­tis­tics.

“For so many dogs to be killed at one track in so short a time is not com­mon,” he said.

But Rac­ing Queens­land CEO Bren­dan Par­nell said the in­jury rates for grey­hounds rac­ing at Bund­aberg was just over 3 per cent, with the vast ma­jor­ity of those re­turn­ing to the track in­side a fort­night.

“As an or­gan­i­sa­tion, we are con­tin­u­ally look­ing for new ways to re­duce the in­jury and mor­tal­ity rates con­tained within our sport in­clud­ing the lat­est ev­i­dence-based re­search to as­sist us with this process, how­ever, there are oc­ca­sions where eu­thana­sia is re­quired due to race day in­ci­dents which is un­for­tu­nate,” he said.

“This is not an overnight so­lu­tion, but an on­go­ing com­mit­ment to the care and wel­fare of our an­i­mals.”

When it comes to what could be con­tribut­ing to the in­juries grey­hounds sus­tain while rac­ing, Mr An­der­son said there were three rec­om­men­da­tions from a Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy in Syd­ney study that could im­prove the safety of grey­hound rac­ing.

Straight tracks, re­duc­ing the num­ber of dogs per race and ex­tend­ing the arm lure to the mid­dle of the track to re­duce con­ges­tion, par­tic­u­larly on the first bend.

“There’s been a lot of re­search done by the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy in Syd­ney about the use of straight tracks and they have found that the use of straight tracks causes less death and in­jury than the use of oval tracks,” he said.

An­other as­pect Mr An­der­son would like to see im­ple­mented was a re­duced num­ber of hounds per race to six.

“In the United King­dom races only oc­cur with six dogs, not eight like in Aus­tralia,” he said.

Mr An­der­son said a trial in Fe­bru­ary, March and April last year con­ducted on three Vic­to­rian tracks com­pared the in­juries and deaths in the stew­ard re­ports when six dogs raced com­pared to eight in De­cem­ber.

“What we dis­cov­ered was that there is twice as many dogs in­jured, se­ri­ously in­jured, if there were eight dogs on the track as op­posed to six dogs,” he said.

“And in the trial there were no fa­tal­i­ties but in the De­cem­ber rac­ing there were two fa­tal­i­ties”.

Where in­tro­duc­ing straight tracks could be ex­pen­sive, Mr An­der­son said “to in­tro­duce six-dog rac­ing would cost noth­ing apart from loss of gam­bling rev­enue”.

The fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tion of ex­tend­ing the arm lure, Mr An­der­son said, had been adopted in Vic­to­ria.

The Bund­aberg Grey­hound Rac­ing Club re­ferred the NewsMail to the Queens­land Rac­ing In­tegrity Com­mis­sion stew­ards, the Queens­land Rac­ing In­tegrity Com­mis­sion did not re­spond by dead­line.

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