“There are no guarantees that the upgrades scheduled in 2023 will not end the same … the only solution is to ban the practice,” she said.
“The dogs often start far too young, when they are still growing, or are left racing for longer than they should and their bones break down.
“I would say 95 per cent of people are unaware that greyhound racing happens almost every night of the week. It feels almost like an underground cult.
“The dogs are raced in rain and in the heat and then left in kennels all day. I think as a state we need to do better than that.”
Racing and Wagering WA head of racing operations David Hunter said there had been a mechanical issue in Northam when the lure “failed to accelerate away” at the end of the race and create a safe separation from the greyhounds, which would cause them to slow down.
“This led to a collision with the catching pen. This was not in any way related to the renovation work and racing remains halted at the venue until stewards are satisfied it can return safely,” he said.
“A new lure system has been ordered called the Safechase Greyhound Racing Lure System and racing will not resume until it has been installed and fully tested.”
Hunter also said RWWA had invested $366,000 on initial improvements, including new equipment related to track maintenance.
But Harrison said RWWA had also announced a $3.57 million boost in stakes funding and trainers’ subsidies, which is set to increase to $7.02 million by the 2025 season.
“No money has been allocated purely for the additional welfare of racing greyhounds or track safety upgrades, apart from a meagre $366,000 invested across all three WA tracks,” she said.
“The only thing they’ve said is they will expand the industry rehoming program, Greyhounds as Pets. It’s about time, as they need to be able to rehome the many dogs now going into their Greyhound Injury Full Recovery Scheme with broken legs, rather than being euthanised as was the process prior to 2019.”
Harrison also said she would like to see TAB WA exclude greyhound racing, and replace it with virtual races instead.
“It serves no purpose to keep it running for gambling reasons, it doesn’t even make much money anymore. I would say the majority of people who gamble on it are just addicted to or enjoy gambling itself and are not invested in what race it is,” she said.
Hunter said greyhound racing had important economic, social and community benefits, supporting more than 1300 full-time-equivalent jobs and welcoming around 56,000 people a year to attend the races.
Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti said injuries or death were “clearly distressing for all involved and an outcome everyone wants to avoid.”
“The need for continued improvement in the area of animal welfare is widely accepted in the local greyhound racing industry,” he said.
“While there are no plans to end greyhound racing, to thrive into the future the industry recognises the need to have the highest standards.
“In recent years, improvements have included the introduction of injury schemes and a code of practice so that in the event of a major injury, greyhounds are provided with the appropriate care.”
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