UPDATE: Submissions have now closed – thank you to everyone who spoke out on behalf of greyhounds. A report from the Committee is due in October 2023. In the meantime, please continue to share information on greyhound racing with friends and family, so they too can be informed on what the reality is for these sensitive animals.
Cruel greyhound exports need to end – and right now, you have a rare opportunity to make it happen.
Australia is one of the last of only seven countries in the world to still operate a commercial greyhound racing industry; subjecting these gentle, affectionate animals to a life of high-risk injury or death on track, and isolation and deprivation off track. This cruel industry has come under intense scrutiny for its poor animal welfare record, which even the industry’s peak body – Greyhounds Australasia – admitted has put profits before welfare.
The exploitation of Australian greyhounds sadly extends beyond our shores. Australian greyhounds are also sent around the world to supply the global greyhound racing market, including to countries with no animal welfare laws. Animals Australia investigators have documented Australian dogs, and dogs being bred from Australian parents, being kept in appalling conditions and subjected to horrific cruelty in China and Vietnam. Dogs are either sent directly to these countries, or via other countries as part of a legal loophole.
Right now, a government committee is seeking public submissions on a Bill to ban the export and import of greyhounds to and from Australia for commercial purposes, including breeding and racing.
If brought into effect, this legislation would spare greyhounds from potentially severe and prolonged suffering — and, importantly, would stop the Australian greyhound industry from supporting (and profiting from) the international trade in greyhounds.
Make your voice heard for greyhounds by making a submission to the Customs Legislation Amendment (Commercial Greyhound Export and Import Prohibition) Bill 2021 by 16 August.
From January 2014 to April 2023, official Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) records of greyhound exports recorded a staggering 3,041 greyhounds exported overseas. Once dogs arrive in importing countries, there is nothing the Australian government or greyhound racing industry can do to control what happens to them – or to stop them from being on-sold to buyers in other countries.
Your submission can make a real difference for greyhounds. Now is the time to tell the government that you want a ban on the export of greyhounds from Australia.
Speak up now! How to make a submission:
Submissions can be as simple or detailed as you like. You can email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can send your submission online. Please note you need to create a My Parliament account in order to make an online submission. You can find more information on how to make a submission here.
We encourage you to consider the points below and put them in your own words to have the most impact for greyhounds, and make it clear that you want the bill passed into legislation in full. Animals should not be forced to race for gambling profit here in Australia, or anywhere around the world.
If you need any assistance with your submission, please reach out to our friendly team on 03 9329 6333.
1. There is no way to ensure the welfare standards of greyhounds who are exported. Legal loopholes mean that Australian greyhounds are exported to countries with animal welfare standards well below those of Australia.
While the industry body, Greyhounds Australasia, has a ‘passport’ system for greyhounds who are exported, this passport system is largely meaningless and doesn’t ensure the welfare of exported animals because:
- Greyhound passports not a legal requirement: Under Greyhounds Australasia (GA) Rule 124, any registered participant exporting a greyhound must obtain a greyhound passport from GA. However, compliance with Rule 124 is not a requirement under Commonwealth live animal export laws and so greyhounds are exported without any passport.
- The passport Rule is frequently broken: Animals Australia has documented evidence of owners and trainers breaching Rule 124 exporting greyhounds without passports to destinations where they have faced animal cruelty. For example, investigations in 2015 implicated no fewer than 70 greyhound owners and trainers exporting no fewer than 133 greyhounds to Macau in China, without passports.
- The greyhound racing industry issues greyhound passports to countries where the animals face cruelty: Passports can be issued to countries where racing is ‘unregulated’ and to where export would usually be prohibited, if they are satisfied that the greyhound would be kept as a ‘pet’ or companion. It has been acknowledged by racing integrity bodies that dogs ‘go missing’ once reaching the destination.
2. Greyhound export is associated not only with cruelty, but also unlawful activity.
- Exploitation of legal loopholes and the industry ‘passport’ system to export greyhounds to countries where they face cruelty such as being kept in concrete cells, forced to race in terrible conditions, suffering painful injuries, being injected with insecticides and dying in agony, and facing certain death within 3 years of exportation.
- Using greyhound export as a way to “dump dogs that don’t win” by selling and sending unwanted dogs offshore.
- Links have been found between organised crime and greyhound racing in Australia. Allowing the export of greyhounds overseas facilitates further exploitation by organised criminal networks.
- Owners and trainers identified through public record who had been fined or suspended from racing are still involved in the export and racing of dogs.
3. The industry cannot track dogs sent overseas.
Even if dogs are listed as being exported as ‘pets’ there is nothing stopping these dogs from being used for racing or breeding, or from being on-sold to other countries where they may be subjected to extreme cruelty. Once dogs leave Australia there is no way to track or to control what happens to them. In official complaints lodged with the Department in 2015, Animals Australia highlighted that dogs who were exported overseas to race (or perform in other ways) were erroneously listed on industry systems as ‘retired’.
4. Dogs suffer when they travel by air – Air transport is stressful for dogs.
Rather than needlessly transporting dogs long distances, the Australian greyhound racing industry should instead be investing in strategies that significantly reduce overbreeding of dogs, and take accountability for the lifelong care of the dogs and puppies it uses to generate billions in gambling revenue.
Your submission can help protect dogs like Faith.
Thousands of dogs were send to Macau’s notorious Canidrome racetrack by the Australian greyhound racing industry. Bred to be raced in Australia, they were condemned to prolonged suffering in China when they were no longer wanted. Greyhounds endured long flights only to spend the rest of their lives in dark concrete cells with no bedding, their only respite from this misery was when they were taken out to be raced. Many didn’t survive — but thankfully when the Canidrome was eventually shut down, hundreds were able to be rescued thanks to the coordinated efforts of international organisations including Anima Macau, Pet Levrieri and Grey2K USA. Some returned to Australia — but this time, as beloved companions, not just commodities.
Faith was one of those dogs. Born in Australia, she was exported to the notorious Canidrome racing track at just two years old. She and her brother were packed into crates and condemned to what would be the worst years of their lives. This solitary confinement would be unbearable for any dog, but for two young pups in the prime of their lives one can only imagine the fear, the boredom, and the loneliness. Faith spent 6 long years there. Her brother did not survive. She was returned to Australia and lived the rest of her days knowing only kindness, her human family doing everything they could to make up for lost time. Faith is an example of the forgiving and endlessly trusting nature of greyhounds, and why no dog should ever be put at risk of suffering by being exported overseas.
Thank you for being a voice for greyhounds!
On behalf of Faith and her brother, and all the other dogs like them, thank you for taking the time to make a submission. Once done, please share this with friends and family who may also be interested in being a voice for these gentle dogs.