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Greyhound industry needs independent regulator, dog tracking: RSPCA

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The RSPCA is calling for a “birth-to-death tracking system” for all greyhounds born in South Australia and an independent regulator to ensure integrity in the controversial industry.

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Greyhound Racing SA has yet to reveal how many dogs were unnecessarily killed, or euthanised, and how many dogs were adopted during the last financial year.

The industry body had aimed to reduce the number of dogs killed unnecessarily in the industry from 357 in 2016-17 to 140 the following financial year (which ended last month).

It had also aimed to dramatically increase the number of rehomed dogs from 430 dogs in 2016-17 – or 65 per cent – to 850 by 2017-18.

RSPCA SA Animal Welfare Advocate Dr Rebekah Eyers told InDaily that while the greyhound racing industry was incrementally improving its transparency, the fate of dogs that enter the industry remains relatively opaque.

“It seems like … every year they’re slightly increasing their amount of transparency,” she said.

“A little bit more data has been released (but) not enough data to tell the whole story.

“What we’d like to see is a birth-to-death tracking system … that would be the only way that we could really trust (industry) figures.”

She said the tracking system would involve recording and publishing an extensive dataset detailing the birth, training, injuries, rehoming (successful and unsuccessful), post-racing life and the death of each individual greyhound, bred and raced in the industry.

“There’s still too many gaps in the information that we have (about) what’s happening to individual greyhounds in the industry,” said Eyers.

In addition to birth-to-death tracking, Eyers said the RSPCA wanted to see an independent regulator appointed to regularly inspect greyhound-training facilities and to enforce animal welfare standards.

She said it was not enough that the industry had separated the role of the chief steward from that of the integrity manager, and that the public simply did not trust the industry to adequately self-regulate.

The greyhound racing industry was embroiled in scandal in 2015 after the ABC’s Four Corners program uncovered horrific footage of live baiting in the industry.

Greyhound Racing SA’s 2016-17 annual report says that the South Australian industry had invested the highest percentage of its revenue – compared with industries in other states – into its rehoming program.

That year, according to the report, was the first in which more greyhounds were rehomed than bred.

Greyhound Racing SA has not responded to InDaily’s requests for comment.

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