Vision from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland has emerged of trainers allowing dogs to maul rabbits, pigs and native possums while they are still alive.
One leading trainer agreed to speak with Australian Racing Greyhound to convey their horror at the appalling revelations. This person has chosen to remain anonymous due to their involvement in the greyhound racing industry and how their opinions may position them within the sport during this difficult time.
“I think it is devastating for the industry,” they said. “We have to rise off the canvas now and show that our sport isn’t just all about that and there is people in this industry that care about their dogs and don’t do that sort of thing.”
The trainer went on to explain the investigation did not offer a clear portrayal of the entire industry, with those involved representing just a fraction of the greyhound racing fraternity.
“It is not like we all do it, it put it out there like we are all doing the same thing, but I don’t think that is right.
“It just paints us all with the same brush, that we are all bad. Some of those blokes in Queensland, the clothes they were wearing, what they were doing, laughing around and joking about it – it was mountain men stuff.
“The worst part is they were enjoying it and now it makes us all look the same. It just made us look horrendous and I don’t know if I really want to be a part of all this because you cannot defend it – what could you say after what we have seen?
“We are all looked upon as bad, evil scum people. When I meet new people these days, I am embarrassed to tell them what I do and that is not a good thing because I have been in this industry for nearly my whole life.”
The trainer who spoke with us is one of the most respected in Australia and is against the practice of live-baiting. Yet, they are a Group 1-winning conditioner, proving there are other ways to train a greyhound to chase successfully.
“It is going to come across in this [Four Corners] story that it is the only way to train a greyhound, but that to me is totally false. Dogs chase normally anyway, they will chase a piece of paper, it’s what they do. It is not like it [live baiting] is the only way to do it,” they said.
“A lot of dogs are just good chasers and don’t need any encouragement, but we can give them arm trials at any of the tracks. That consists of a squeaker or a teaser to make a noise, which you can put on the arm legally, the dog will bite on and they get their reward that way.
“This is not the end of greyhound racing because there are other avenues to make a dog chase.”
The trainer mentioned harsh penalties needed to be enforced to ensure these types of practices are eradicated from the sport.
“There is no good to come out of it at all – it has come out as bad as it could have. I know some of these guys, but I certainly don’t condone what they have done.
“You start to question with all the things that have happened in the sport recently, are the authorities doing as much as they should be doing?
“[The authorities] need to come down heavily on these people, forget about who they are, and not let their partners train dogs – because then it is just back to business as usual.”
Our trainer was left speechless at the vision, which was enough to make them start to think about their position within the industry.
“… I made the call the other day that maybe we should turn our property into a pet place and forget the greyhounds because the industry has gone to the point where I don’t think anyone trusts it.
“This sort of thing doesn’t go down well with anybody and if this is what makes you a top trainer then who wants to be one? I would rather go to the nth degree to make sure the dog is 100 per cent, to make sure every bit of feed is the best kind of feed I can possibly feed them.
“We do all those little things [to look after our dogs] and then you see the vision like that and it makes you wonder what you are even doing.”