Can we change the odds for thousands of greyhounds in Macau?
They say you’re either a dog or a cat person – well I’m definitely a dog person. And I have a particular love for greyhounds - they are so gentle, intelligent and graceful. They are also one of the fastest animals on the planet – the only other animal that can accelerate faster over a short distance is the cheetah!
Sadly, as humans we have taken full advantage of this ability and greyhounds have been purposely bred for cruel sports like hare coursing and racing from which a profitable industry has been built.
Australia has the world’s third largest greyhound racing industry. In 2009 a whopping $73 million was wagered by gamblers nationally on this cruel sport.
But the industry has a dark underbelly and money is often put ahead of animal welfare. An estimated 20,000 pups are bred each year, but not all of them make the grade – many are discarded and killed without ever making it to the track. It is welcome news that a much-needed parliamentary inquiry has just been set up to investigate the industry.
But many dogs bred here face an even worse fate. They are exported to Macau, China to the infamous Canidrome race track where they face a short life of cruelty and certain death, cramped in tiny cages where they can barely turn around. On the track they must literally run for their lives - if they fail to finish in the top three for five consecutive races they are destroyed. There is no adoption programme in Macau so every dog sent there dies there.
What can you do to improve the odds for these gentle creatures?
Firstly, please don’t ever bet on greyhound racing and fuel this cruel industry.