Greyhound racing: Live baiting revelations

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    Greyhound racing: Live baiting revelations on Four Corners to be 'extremely damaging' to industry

    Four Corners
    By Caro Meldrum-Hanna
    Posted about an hour agoMon 16 Feb 2015, 5:38am
    PHOTO: Australians are now wagering a staggering $4 billion on greyhound racing each year (AFP: Robyn Beck, file photo)
    RELATED STORY: Live rabbits allegedly used as lures at Victorian greyhound racing track
    MAP: Australia
    Australia's greyhound racing industry is in turmoil ahead of an explosive Four Corners report, set to air tonight, that reveals conclusive evidence of live baiting.
    Live baiting is the practice of using small live animals in secret greyhound training sessions.
    It has been banned and criminalised for decades, but trainers and owners across the country have been using the illegal training method in the belief that it will improve a dog's performance.
    Live baiting carries substantial financial penalties and sentences of up to five years' imprisonment. The evidence that will be broadcast tonight on the ABC could have a massive impact on the industry.
    The RSPCA, in conjunction with police in NSW, Victoria and Queensland raided five properties on Wednesday last week after the Four Corners program, in conjunction with Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland, confidentially handed over the results of its investigation into the sport to the state-based RSPCAs more than a fortnight ago.
    Tonight in its exclusive report, Four Corners will reveal how trainers and owners across the country, working in concert with licensed trial track operators, are training their dogs using banned methods and engaging in illegal activity.
    Make no mistake. This story will be explosive, emotive and extremely damaging to the future of this sport in Australia.
    Greyhound Racing Victoria CEO Adam Wallish
    This behaviour constitutes cheating under the laws of greyhound racing.
    Tracking dogs and their trainers from private training facilities and on to official race meets and using undercover investigators to infiltrate the industry, the program has discovered the integrity of potentially thousands of races and millions of dollars in prize money is now in question.
    Aware that the Four Corners program was set to air, Greyhound Racing NSW, Greyhound Racing Victoria, and Racing Queensland, the sport's statutory regulators, moved to suspend more than 20 trainers, owners and trial track operators late last week.
    In another attempt to pre-empt the program, on Sunday, Racing Queensland announced a $1 million taskforce to combat live baiting and other allegations of cruelty.
    But the regulator's attempts to act raise further serious questions about their ability to fulfil obligations and adequately police the sport in addition to carrying out their dual role as the sport's promoter. Australians are now wagering a staggering $4 billion on the sport annually.
    It is also revealed the illegal activities have remained undetected by the regulators, and makes it clear self-regulation has been a failure. At the same time, the evidence could prompt governments to reconsider their support and endorsement of the sport.
    'This story will be explosive'

    In an internal memo written by Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) and obtained by Four Corners over the weekend, GRV's chief executive officer Adam Wallish encouraged trainers and owners to start strategising and preparing to react publically after the Four Corners program airs tonight.
    "Make no mistake. This story will be explosive, emotive and extremely damaging to the future of this sport in Australia," Mr Wallish wrote.
    "As a group of people that love the greyhound breed we should all be shocked and outraged by the allegations in the story and prepared to fight the small minority that continue to partake in such practices jeopardising the future of the sport and indeed the future of the breed itself."
    Mr Wallish also urged the greyhound racing community to focus their anger on the wrongdoers in their sport, rather than the messenger.
    "You will be emotional, you might be angry. Don't be angry at those that attack us, regardless of their position. Be angry at those within the sport that are doing the wrong thing and undermining the values for which we stand," he wrote.
    "This time is a testing one for all of us in the industry and we need to stay resolute in our desire to exceed social standards and public expectations.
    "The future of the sport and the wonderful greyhound breed necessitates it."
    Greyhound Racing Victoria has also set up a counselling telephone hotline to support those affected emotionally by the allegations. The hotline is contactable on (03) 8329 1100 and will be available from 7:30am on Tuesday morning.
    The program, Making a Killing, will broadcast tonight on ABC1 at 8:30pm. Anyone with further information can contact Four Corners here.
 
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