The Courier-Mail

DOG ACTS LAID BARE

The other vile reasons greyhound racing is in big trouble

- DAMON GUPPY DAVID MURRAY

QUEENSLAND’S inquiry into the greyhound racing industry has uncovered widespread instances of vile abuse – including handlers inserting a lit match into their dogs’ anus to make them run faster and unwanted racers being bludgeoned to death, electrocut­ed, or sold as bait to undergroun­d dog-fighting rings.

The inquiry’s report will today be handed to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has promised “swift and decisive action” to clean up the industry, whose problems the inquiry has found go far beyond live possums and piglets routinely being used as lures in greyhound training.

Twenty trainers have so far been banned for life, and 23 people have been charged with animal cruelty.

UNWANTED greyhounds are routinely bludgeoned to death in Queensland while racing dogs are often subjected to shockingly inhumane treatment to improve performanc­e.

Queensland’s inquiry into the greyhound industry has uncovered horrific claims of animal cruelty with dogs shot, hanged or electrocut­ed because they can’t run fast enough.

The widespread claims of systemic abuse include dogs having lit matches inserted into the anus to make them run faster or being brutally killed with drills and hammers.

Inquiry commission­er Alan MacSporran QC will today deliver his report to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk who has vowed to take decisive action to reform the industry.

This is expected to include higher standards for trainers and stiffer penalties for people found guilty of animal cruelty offences.

Ms Palaszczuk said the revelation­s had shocked people across the state.

“I think all of Queensland shares with me the huge concerns with how the industry had conducted itself,” she said.

“Let me make it very clear, my government will not tolerate any signs of animal cruelty and the industry must get its house in order and we will act.

“I will be making a statement to Parliament later this week after I have had a chance to read that report.’’

Hundreds of submission­s were made to the inquiry with most condemning the sport for the live-baiting scandal and calling for stricter laws to protect the welfare of greyhounds.

Some called for greyhound racing to be banned.

In one case, handlers were accused of taking their greyhounds to a man named “$10 Tom” to be killed.

The $10 paid for hitting the unwanted greyhound on the head with a hammer then putting the body on a bonfire.

Alice Stafford, who works as a volunteer rehoming retired racers, said greyhounds that were not taken to veterinari­ans to be euthanased faced a brutal fate.

“Some are shot, some drowned, bashed, hung, electrocut­ed, (and) sold for bait dogs for dog-fighting rings,” she said in her submission.

“We know of one trainer that has a special drill he used to drill into the dogs brains to put them down.

“They then get their ears cut off and dumped in mass graves or just in the bush with the hope no one finds them.”

Others said alleged trainers used sickening methods to make their dogs run faster, including one who placed “a lit match in the anal canal, that makes them shoot out of the gate” and another who kept his animals locked in cages for up to 23 hours a day.

The inquiry was sparked after Animal Liberation Queensland and Animals Australia provided the ABC’s Four Corners with footage showing possums, piglets and chickens strapped to lures at training tracks for dogs to chase down and savage or devour.

The Australian Veterinary Associatio­n (AVA) has called for the regulation of animal welfare within the greyhound industry to be controlled by an authority separate to Racing Queensland to reduce the myriad problems plaguing the sport.

“Live baiting is only one of numerous animal welfare is- sues associated with greyhound racing,” the AVA said.

Twenty trainers have been banned for life by Racing Queensland since the scandal was exposed in February.

The joint police-RSPCA greyhound taskforce has charged 23 people with animal cruelty offences as part of its investigat­ion into live-baiting and dumping of dead greyhounds.

MY GOVERNMENT WILL NOT TOLERATE

ANY SIGNS OF ANIMAL CRUELTY Annastacia Palaszczuk

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