The WA Greens are calling for an urgent inquiry into the West Australian Greyhound Racing Industry after allegations of live baiting practices in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria were revealed on the ABC’s Four Corners program last night.
Evidence gathered during investigations by Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland has underpinned RSPCA raids in three states with more than 20 trainers facing suspension by racing authorities.
WA Greens Spokesperson for Animal Welfare Lynn MacLaren MLC said it was imperative that a full and transparent inquiry into the West Australian Greyhound Racing Industry must be undertaken.
“Greyhound racing in Australia is tainted,” Ms MacLaren said.
“What was revealed on four corners is barbaric and deeply, deeply disturbing. Not only because of the horrific cruelty shown towards these animals, but also because of the depraved human behaviour of those involved.”
WA Greens Spokesperson for Racing and Gaming Robin Chapple MLC agreed an urgent inquiry was needed to test if these practices were occurring in Western Australia.
“Several things need to happen immediately; this is primarily an issue of industry management and oversight,” Mr Chapple said.
“Firstly, the government needs to issue a clear statement that the funding supplied by Royalties for Regions is not tainted by this barbaric behaviour; it is not good enough to simply state it is not condoned.
“Secondly, Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) needs to advise that none of the 70 individuals named in this investigation have any operations in Western Australia. RWWA must be able to state that live baiting practices do not occur in this state.
“If the state government and RWWA are unable to immediately provide these statements then there is no other option but for an independent inquiry.
“If the industry here in WA want to clear their name and preserve their reputation then it is imperative they fully support such an inquiry.”
Ms MacLaren said the responsibility of oversight for the industry should fall with the Animal Welfare Unit.
“I would strongly question the ability of the Animal Welfare Unit to provide proper oversight to the Greyhound Racing Industry because of the chronic under-resourcing of this important Unit,” she said.
“I have spoken out in the past about the need for this unit to be entirely independent; the fact it operates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture and Food already diminishes its ability to fairly advocate for animal rights.”