This dog’s name is Gidget.
She’s sweet natured, she’s the perfect house guest, and she gets so excited when she’s with people that “her tail wagging nearly takes her into orbit”.
Gidget is an ex-racing greyhound who is currently up for adoption, because in her industry she is considered “wastage”.
What does that mean? Essentially, Gidget isn’t a profitable racer – and if she wasn’t being put up for adoption, she would be euthanised.
Last year, the ABC’s 7.30 Report ran an investigation into the greyhound racing industry in NSW. What they discovered were allegations of widespread doping, collusion, and animal cruelty.
The Australian greyhound racing industry is the third biggest in the world, and Australians spend about $3 billion in wagers on the sport every year. There’s big money involved and that money means there’s a lot of incentive for breeders and trainers to have the fastest dogs. This incentive has led to massive over-breeding in the industry. In fact, 40 per cent of greyhounds born every year in Australia, will never actually race – because they’re not fast enough.
The dogs that win races are profitable, and be used in breeding programs when they start to slow down. The dogs that are too slow to begin with, are considered wastage.
This results in up to 17,000 dogs being killed each year.
Inez Hamilton-Smith from Gone are the Dogs explains, “Greyhounds are seen as commodities and their value relies on their ability to run fast… It is perfectly legal to breed large numbers of greyhounds, in order to try and to get a fast one and then dispose of the rest.”
Animal advocates say that as well as more humane methods of euthanisation, dogs are sometimes shot dead or killed with a hammer to the head. Industry insiders told the 7.30 Report that puppies are sometimes drowned.
One of the more unpalatable methods of eauthanisation, is the routine practice of draining greyhounds of their blood, before finally letting them die. These dogs are going to be killed anyway, and their blood will be used to treat other sick dogs – but that doesn’t make it any easier for the people who have to kill the dogs.
Veterinary nurse Victoria Luxton-Bain told the 7.30 Report that, “I still remember the first time I had to do it and I couldn’t stop crying … My worst day was we had seven brought in by one person and you just had to do seven, one after the other.”