Sport Racing

Crisis for the Canidrome?

Written by Ben Blaschke

The future of Macau’s Canidrome looks shakier than ever with an impending shake-up of the greyhound industry in Australia – where Asia’s only greyhound track sources the vast majority of its racing dogs.

Australia’s greyhound industry is in turmoil this week after current affairs show Four Corners aired shocking footage of a number of key trainers and figures involved in live baiting, which involves strapping live animals such as piglets, rabbits and possums to lures and having greyhounds chase them around the track. The training method, which usually ends with the animals being mauled to death, has been illegal for decades and those caught could face jail terms and lifetime bans from racing.

However, the nationwide uproar will certainly see the entire industry come under scrutiny with some calling for greyhound racing to be banned altogether. Animal welfare groups have long rallied against the euthanizing of around 18,000 dogs each year, while hundreds of dogs are still being exported to Macau despite Greyhounds Australasia “officially” banning the practice in 2013.

The Canidrome itself has been targeted by welfare groups in the past with an estimated 350 dogs euthanized each year and the remainder kept in appalling conditions, given little exercise and rarely allowed to socialize.

The greyhound industry in Australia has been largely self-regulated to this point but that is almost certain to come to an end given the various regulating bodies have exhibited zero ability to control the industry they are supposedly in charge of. Many have even accused them of being complicit in these illegal activities or at the very least turning a blind eye.

If state and federal governments in Australia do come down on the greyhound racing industry as hard as they are suggesting – and we certainly hope they will – it will have a dramatic impact on the Canidrome as well. Bad news, perhaps, for those in charge but great news for the innocent greyhounds.