Live Baiting Shocks the Greyhound Racing World
The greyhound racing industry has been shocked to its core at the moment in light of a damning Four Corners programme, which aired on Tuesday night this week. ABC reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna led a team of investigators who discovered that greyhound racing in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria was rife with live baiting.
The practice of using live animals in training greyhounds to chase has been illegal in the industry for decades. And yet an undercover investigation, initially stirred on by rumours, has revealed that senior figures in the Greyhound-racing world have been continuing the practice since it was outlawed.
Bob Smith, former second in charge of Greyhound racing Victoria is one such person. Smith, ironically the former integrity and operations manager of VIC Racing, was caught on film in a training session at south east Melbourne, Tooradin trial track, where young greyhounds are broken in and trained to chase.
The ABC Four Corners episode on Tuesday night showed horrifying footage of the live baiting at a trial track in Churchable, QLD. High profile and veteran Greyhound trainer Tom Noble was filmed “blooding” a group of greyhounds.
Blooding is believed to increase the greyhounds ‘prey instinct’. To do this Mr Noble tied a baby piglet to a motorised lure that dragged it around a mock racing track. Noble then let out unbroken greyhounds as the piglet passed by in order to associate the movement and noise it makes with the drive to chase. After many times around the track the greyhound is allowed to catch the piglet. The footage that followed was nearly too horrific to watch.
According to ABC News Member for agriculture Barnaby Joyce said that he was opposed to cruelty to animals, but said activists should not be trespassing onto private properties to secretly record vision. Taking a swipe at animal rights activists Joyce said “You cannot decide to take the law into your own hands…Once you do that, once you make that exclusion, that apparently you can break the law for this person, then where does it stop?”
With the evidence gathered by the Four Corners investigators, police teams and the RSPCA in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria raided the properties of 20 Greyhound trainers suspected of live baiting. As a result 13 high-ranking members of the industry have been suspended.
There is no denying the evidence gathered by Meldrum-Hanna and her team. Greyhound racing is Australia had been increasing in popularity in the recent past with its new clean image. Stating that animal welfare was now its highest priority, but it seems that a seedy underbelly still existed.