Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi Introduces A Bill To Finally Ban All Greyhound Exports

“More and more people in Australia see greyhound racing for what it is: gambling-fuelled animal cruelty."

Greyhound running on track

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Today, NSW Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi will introduce an amendment bill to ban the import and export of greyhounds for breeding, racing or commercial use. The ban will allow exemptions for domestic pet greyhounds, as long as there is proof the dog will not be used for breeding or racing.

Currently, if someone wanted to export a racing greyhound they would have to source a ‘passport‘ for the dog, granted by the peak body, Greyhounds Australasia. The body won’t approve passports for countries with minimal animal protection standards, or where there is no formal association with a regulating body.

But a loophole in the current scheme means dogs can be exported to countries like the UK, then be reexported. In some instances, it looks like the passport system is being bypassed all together. The Telegraph reports some dogs which made it through the export loophole sold for five-figure prices.

Faruqi believes a full commercial ban is long overdue and will overcome this issue. “Greyhounds from Australia are routinely being sent overseas to race, and often end up in countries where there isn’t a semblance of animal welfare protection for these poor dogs,” she says.

“No matter what the industry says, neither the welfare of the dogs, nor where they end up, can be guaranteed after they are exported. The only sensible and appropriate measure is to shut down the trade altogether.

Greyhound racing remains an outdated and problematic sport. In August last year, many Victorians were furious to discover that greyhound racing was somehow indirectly considered “essential” business, as the tracks remained open. At the time, Daniel Andrews said it would continue because it was a “very-low risk activity”.

A Huge Increase In Dog Deaths

This year, a report by The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds found a 44 percent increase in dog deaths in the NSW greyhound racing industry during the first half of 20201, compared to the same time last year. Thirty-six dogs died on the tracks,.

Dennis Anderson, program manager of the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, is relieved to see Faruqi’s amendments that will ban greyhound exports. “We need to close this loophole so that dogs don’t end up in jurisdictions where there are no animal welfare laws…[especially] China and Vietnam,” Anderson says.

While they can’t know for sure what’s going on once animals are re-exported once outside Australia, Anderson says assessments could be made by what was happening at the Macau’s Canidrome, which was shut down in 2018. Animal rights groups believed dogs were being euthanised if they underperformed at the track.

Anderson says many greyhounds don’t even make it to a racing track because they’re not fast enough. And because Australia only keeps tracks of the hounds when they’re in the hands of industry participants, there’s no knowing what happens to them when they’re moved on. “They could end up anywhere,” says Anderson. “We would like to see the whole of life tracking.”

The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds hopes to one day see an end to greyhound racing altogether. “Last year, there were over 200 dogs killed on tracks in Australia and almost 10000 injured,” says Anderson. “This is all done in the name of profit and so-called entertainment… To me, it’s it goes along with cockfighting, bull-baiting and dogfighting. It’s something that we need to move on from.”

Dr Faruqi’s amendment bill is a step forward for the rights and safety of greyhounds.

“More and more people in Australia see greyhound racing for what it is: gambling-fuelled animal cruelty,” Faruqi says. “These beautiful dogs should be running for fun, not their lives.”