ACT News

A dogged attempt to end greyhound exports to China

Don't let their bright Pjs fool you, Canberra's greyhounds and their owners took a serious stand this week. 

In Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, London and Dublin and various cities across Europe demonstrations were held outside Irish government facilities calling for a clampdown on cruelty and greyhound exports to China's only racetrack in the city of Macau. 

As dogs pawed about at a candlelight vigil held in front of the Irish embassy in Yarralumla on Thursday the demonstration pointed to the grim reality that underperforming dogs are put down at a rate of one a day at the popular Macau venue. 

Protester Ada Prosperi said before Qantas and Cathay Pacific refused to transport any more greyhounds from Australia to Macau in December 2015 it was this country that met supply, but the move created a shortage of racers now being filled by Irish greyhounds. 

"There were 24 dogs that were bundled up ready to be exported from Ireland, and that is in part how this came up, but their crates were not travel worthy," she said. 

"The fate of those dogs isn't known as they went back to the trainer, but the world is taking notice. We are going to continue to shine a light on this and hopefully improve welfare standards for these animals until the Canidrome shuts down." 

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Sydney protest co-ordinator Nora Anderson-Dippe has a rescue greyhound called Millie, whose brother Jack was sent to the Canidrome to be raced. 

"According to the statistics he will be killed, but we have a campaign calling for him to come home to Australia," she said. 

"The majority of the 720 greyhounds there are Australian, just nine are Irish, so we really have a responsibility to make sure they're treated properly and get out alive."

Stifling Australian greyhound exports to Macau was not a result of any intervention by the Australian government but demonstrators hope mounting international pressure will be too much for the Irish government to ignore. 

Cuddling up to her rescue greyhound Bobby, Canberran Alison Compston said the campaign aimed to rectify the lack of oversight in Macau to monitor animal welfare and establish an adoption program to prevent thousands of dogs being destroyed. 

"No dog that goes to the Canidrome leaves alive," she said.

"There are reports, backed up by animal welfare groups in China, that as soon as dogs stop performing they are put down and the injury rates are far higher than the other eight countries worldwide where dog racing operates."