A group of protesters in Lismore kicked off a national day of protest against the greyhound industry yesterday morning.
About 50 people gathered near Lismore’s greyhound track as part of a national day of action aimed at shutting down the industry.
The industry has been in melt-down since a Four Corners expose last year that revealed life baiting and animal cruelty.
The NSW Government has had an inquiry into the industry, which heard evidence of the killing of pups deemed unsuitable for racing, and those that were injured or too slow.
Other evidence included widespread failure to provide appropriate veterinary care, food or excercise, with dogs confined to small cages for days on end without social interaction or exercise.
The inquiry’s finding are due in late March.
Local greyhound carer Caroline Ludwig attended the Lismore rally with her own greyhounds.
‘I ended up taking on several greyhounds after working with animal welfare groups and it just just grew from there,’ she said.
‘I place one or two at a time, and recently I have been approached by trainers and vets to take on more dogs.
‘The industry knows it has a problem but the solution is not about re-homing a few dogs, we are talking thousands each year needing homes- it’s just not sustainable.’
The Lismore rallies coincided with rallies across Australia
Hundreds of protesters and their dogs also attended large rallies in Sydney, Hobart and Adelaide.
About 300 people gathered in Hyde Park for the Sydney rally.
Shan Patterson from the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds told the ABC the races should be stopped.
‘The dogs are dying while they’re trying to keep this industry alive. It should be the other way around — this industry has to die out,’ she said.
Founder of the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, Eleonora Gullone, said events around Australia on Sunday show there is widespread condemnation of the greyhound racing industry.
‘There really is no way of stopping the cruelty in this industry because it’s a numbers game,’ she told reporters.
Dr Gullone said up to 17,000 young, healthy greyhounds were killed each year because they weren’t deemed fast enough or didn’t chase.
A further 12,000 were “retired” from racing each year. Of those, only 10 to 15 per cent were used for breeding or rehomed and the rest were killed, she said.
The industry came under fire last year after it was revealed small animals such as piglets and rabbits were used as live bait to train dogs at some tracks.
Dr Gullone said it was unlikely live baiting would be stamped out because the industry was resistant to change.