Greyhound racing in Australia faces “baiting” allegations
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia’s greyhound racing industry was in crisis Wednesday after the suspension of 30 trainers in three states over the use of live animals such as pigs, rabbits and possums as ‘bait’ for the dogs.
The trainers are among 70 implicated in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland by an Australian Broadcasting Corp. television current affairs show.
The ABC reported that the former integrity and racing operations manager for Victoria state was among those caught up in the scandal which involves the use of live prey in training so as to make the chase for the mechanical ‘rabbit’ during racing more appealing.
More than 30,000 people are involved in greyhound racing in Australia. Last year, 500,000 attended greyhound races in the country and bet nearly $4 billion.
Racing Queensland chairman Kevin Dixon some of the 13 trainers it suspended face life bans. They have seven days to show why they should not be prevented from visiting any race course in the state — greyhound, thoroughbred or harness — to place a bet or train or own a registered racing animal.
One of the trainers subject to both suspension and a show cause notice, Tom Noble, said he expected his punishment to be harsh.
“Well, I’ll get life. They won’t let me race a dog again,” he told the Nine television network. “It’s a big industry, greyhound racing, I can’t see it folding up, but it’s not going to do it any good.”
Another trainer suspended has been removed from the Queensland Racing Hall of Fame.
Liz Walker, chief executive of the animal welfare group RSPCA Victoria, said it would likely be weeks rather than days before animal cruelty charges were laid, due to the number of people involved and the complexity of the investigation.