Greyhound protest: splinter groups to blame for demise of peaceful protest says organiser

Bathani Morris with Telin, Cal Morris, Alanna Christiansen with Max and Vicki Boxell with Bear. Picture: Jon Hewson d453113
Bathani Morris with Telin, Cal Morris, Alanna Christiansen with Max and Vicki Boxell with Bear. Picture: Jon Hewson d453113

A GREYHOUND advocacy group has blamed splinter groups for the demise of their planned peaceful protest at the Cannington racetrack last Saturday night .

Protest organiser Alanna Christiansen said the protest at the Perth Cup attracted around 100 people early in the evening and was initially peaceful, but unravelled to include verbal abuse as the night wore on.

She said groups not associated with her protest were to blame for the fray.

“I left after six and now I wish I stayed and encouraged people to leave too, that sort of behaviour is a big no-no,” Ms Christiansen said.

“About 25 people took it too far, I don’t know who they are and I am trying to get names.”

Ms Christiansen said she would continue to advocate against the industry, but would monitor her protests and initiatives more stringently.

“I won’t be protesting trackside again because of the conflict, we’ll continue to raise awareness,” she said.

Ms Christiansen said she sought to clarify past assertions taxpayers paid for Greyhound Racing.

“The State Government did not provide taxpayer funds,” she said.

Racing and Wagering WA (RWWA), through the operations of the WA TAB, is responsible for funding the Western Australian racing industry.

A spokeswoman for RWWA said the industry was committed to ensuring the best levels of care were given to greyhounds throughout all stages of their lives.

“In this respect RWWA has assumed control of the Greyhounds As Pets program in 2015 to further improve the rate of adoptions of retired greyhounds, of which over 50 per cent are already rehomed by the industry,” she said.

“RWWA has also applied greater levels of regulation in relation to breeding programs aimed to encourage responsible breeding and reduce numbers of greyhounds being bred. This has included registration of breeding females and controls over approval to breed.”

According to the spokeswoman, the new Cannington track had given the WA Greyhound racing industry the opportunity to design and prepare a modern track.

“(The design) follows latest international design and research standards, all aimed at providing the most protective racing surface and minimising serious injury rates to greyhounds.”

“The sand composition at Cannington is an entirely new blend, which was aimed at ensuring the highest levels of welfare.”

She said fatal injury rates at the Canning track had been low.

“To date there have been 700 individual starters race at the new Cannington track; the fatal injury rate during this period has been 0.14 per cent,” she said.

“99.8 per cent of Greyhound starters at the new Cannington track have competed safely and without serious injury.”

All injuries to dogs were reported within steward’s reports.

“It should be noted that this would include a significant proportion of injuries that are considered minor in nature, for example where the greyhounds exhibited general soreness post racing or other minor matters that required 7-10 days to recover from before being fit to return to racing,” the spokeswoman said.