IN FEBRUARY, footage of greyhound trainers strapping tiny animals onto mechanical lures to be ripped apart by dogs rightly disgusted the nation.
Some of the vision was offensive beyond words.
One clip showed a prominent trainer removing a mother possum from its baby and using it as bait on a lure.
When the lure stopped, the possum had been snapped in half, attached only by its spinal cord.
Other defenceless animals grasped grimly onto life, mutilated, while workers laughed at their pain and slung them around the track again.
This week, the sport’s own controlling body revealed between 13,000 and 17,000 healthy greyhounds were killed each year simply because they couldn’t run fast enough.
How can any decent, compassionate society accept this?
Any form of animal cruelty is detestable, but there is something manifestly grotesque about cruelty for financial gain.
This is humanity at its most inhumane.
That greyhound authorities have been wilfully blind to this for so long makes it even worse.
Some sponsors have dumped the sport and a number of politicians and animal liberationists are calling for it to be banned.
The real question is whether this is the “actions of a few”.
These are certainly not bit players involved.
Top officials and even one of Australia’s leading trainers, Darren McDonald, have been implicated, suggesting live baiting is endemic.
Anyone with even a cursory involvement in the sport knows live baiting, or “blooding”, has been widely practised across the industry. As a community and a nation, we should continue to condemn this barbaric practice. But we should also be aware these criminals operating in a moral abyss still only represent a small minority of players in the industry.
The sport of greyhound racing now sits on a precipice: either it has a systemic purge of cheats, much like competitive cycling has, or it continues to lose supporters and relevance.
If authorities choose not to act, then greyhound racing deserves to go to the dogs.
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