Racing and Wagering WA defends number of greyhounds euthanised in past year

Stock image.
Stock image.

RACING and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) has defended figures that revealed 371 greyhounds were euthanised in the past year, saying in the same period 62 per cent of dogs were re-homed and wellbeing remained important.

Greens South Metropolitan MLC Lynn MacLaren called on the Parliamentary Secretary representing the Minster for Racing and Gaming Colin Holt to reveal the number of greyhounds whelped and killed in the year leading up to October 20, 2016.

In 2014 and 2015, 449 and 428 dogs were imported from interstate respectively compared to 207 born in WA during 2014-15.

A spokeswoman from RWWA said the disparity was due to the size of the WA industry and the age dogs were eligible to race.

“The Western Australian greyhound breeding industry is relatively small in comparison to other states, with additional greyhounds being imported from interstate to sustain the local industry,” she said.

“It is important to note that many of the pups whelped in the latter part of 2014-15 are still too young to race, hence the percentage of pups to race from that year is currently lower than in prior year.

“Greyhounds do not race until they are 16 months to two years of age and therefore the greyhounds that have been born in the second half of 2015 will not yet have reached racing age.”

RWWA did not confirm whether the dogs were guaranteed to have not been live baited interstate.

Of racing greyhounds euthanized, 96 were killed after they were deemed unsuitable for racing, 88 were considered unsuitable for re-homing and 187 were killed after sustaining track injuries.

Comparatively 616, or 63 per cent of greyhounds within the industry were re-homed; 163 through the RWWA run program Greyhounds as Pets (GAP), 124 directly from breeders or trainers and 274 through other organisations.

RWWA’s spokeswoman said further efforts would go towards the wellbeing of racing and re-homing dogs.

“The greyhound racing industry nationally has acknowledged that there is a need for continued improvement in relation to euthanasia rates and the re-homing of greyhounds,” she said.

“RWWA has increased its investment in the GAP program from $120,000 in 2014-15 to almost $500,000 this year, since assuming control in 2014.

“The investment includes the lease of a new GAP facility, which has increased kennel capacity, as well as the employment of a dedicated program co-ordinator and kennel manager,” she said.

“RWWA is committed to ensuring that the best levels of care are given to greyhounds throughout all stages of their lives, through a program of investment, education, monitoring and regulation.

“When a greyhound retires from the racing industry, at any age, RWWA will aim to achieve every healthy and behaviourally sound greyhound being re-homed.”