It’s very easy to be critical of the Greyhound industry because it has more problems than you can poke a stick at. But let’s start with the big one: the fact that thousands of greyhounds are slaughtered each year because their owners do not believe that they are fast enough to win them any money.
The problem is that greyhound owners are allowed to keep breeding dogs until they get one that has a chance of winning races. The answer is controlling and restricting the breeding process.
NSW Premier Mike Baird cited the fact that 68,000 greyhounds had been put down in NSW alone in the last decade as a reason for banning the sport. The figure is appalling and if that problem can’t be solved then the sport should be banned. And we should be realistic in acknowledging that this is not a problem that is limited to NSW. It occurs wherever greyhound racing is held in Australia.
The way the system works at present is that a greyhound owner will breed litters of greyhounds and select the fastest ones to race and destroy the rest. By the time a greyhound is around 18 months old, the owner has a fair idea of the dog’s racing potential and can make a decision on whether to keep the dog or not.
It would actually be very simple to set up system that doesn’t involve killing dogs.
It would work like this.
The regulatory body that controls greyhound racing (in Victoria it is GRV, Greyhound Racing Victoria) would control breeding. Individual owners would not be allowed to breed greyhounds themselves but they would be allowed to hold licenses to purchase a specific number of dogs from a registered breeder who in turn would only be allowed to produce a limited number of dogs. Only licensed dogs from licensed breeders would be allowed to race.
GRV would license the breeders to produce the number of dogs required to keep the racing stock at a level to sustain industry. As dogs are retired from racing, the licensed owners would be allowed to purchase another dog from the licensed breeders.
No dogs can be put down based on their ability to race. This will remove the artificial “survival of the fastest” effect of the current practices of euthanasia. The races will probably be slower, but it would not matter if all the races were three or four seconds slower. Someone would still win that’s all that matters in racing and gambling.