The start of race one at the Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club.
The start of race one at the Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club.

GRAPHIC: Horrific ways dogs die on Qld‘s third worst track

The greyhound racing industry has once again come under fire after another greyhound has been euthanised on the track and the Bundaberg club was declared the third deadliest in Queensland.

Research conducted by the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds (CPG) has revealed the Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club is the state's third and country's eighth deadliest track.

Based on the analysis of thousands of official stewards' reports, CPG recently released their findings in a report entitled Lethal Tracks 2020: A Report on Track-Related Deaths and Injuries.

"Greyhound racing is incompatible with animal welfare - in Queensland last year almost four greyhounds were killed or injured every day on racetracks," CPG Queensland director Annie Hendley said.

"The brutal reality of greyhound racing is revealed by the industry's own stewards' reports - more than 1400 greyhounds were killed or injured on Queensland tracks last year, many suffering appalling injuries."

Key findings in the report revealed 202 greyhounds died as a result of racing injuries last year in Australia, along with 9861 injuries - 1664 of which were major.

Data showed Queensland was the third-deadliest state and the Bundaberg track recorded the third highest number of greyhound losses in Queensland alongside Townsville, each totalling five deaths.

But the fight for change continues with a total of 30 greyhounds killed on racing tracks this year, five of which occurred in Queensland and one of which at the Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club.

The steward's report states Bundaberg greyhound Fernando Tears "lost its footing" at the track's first turn and fell heavily during race eight.

As a result of the racing injury, Fernando Tears sustained a fractured ankle and was euthanised by the on-track vet on February 22.

"Greyhound racing is inherently dangerous for dogs … curved tracks, races with too many dogs, unwarranted euthanasia, and over-racing are just some of the hazards that greyhounds have to face," Ms Hendley said.

"The recent death of Fernando Tears at Bundaberg typified the fate of so many greyhounds - he broke his leg on a curved track in an eight-dog race and was then euthanised."

The devastating news comes after the Bundaberg club recorded five deaths and 169 injuries across just 52 race meetings last year.

All of the fatal incidents occurred at track turns while participating in an eight-dog race with four greyhounds euthanised due to broken legs and one as a result of ruptured back muscles.

Eighteen injuries were classified as major and included a torn achilles tendon, severe neck strains and fractured or dislocated bones.

While CPG's end goal is ban the racing of greyhounds, the organisation has proposed a five-point plan to reform the industry in the meantime.

The plan includes creating safer tracks, reduced breeding, increased funding of sanctuaries, whole-life tracking of greyhounds and larger penalties for mistreatment.

"Dogs are dying for gambling and the carnage we saw on the tracks last year is continuing unabated in 2021," Ms Hendley said.

"The only way to stop the suffering of these beautiful dogs is to ban greyhound racing (and) until that happens, the industry should act on what its own research recommended in 2017 - that six-dog races and straight tracks are safer alternatives."

Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC)'s Mark Ainsworth said the commission oversees animal welfare and integrity measures at greyhound race meetings in Queensland.

"The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission along with Racing Queensland and industry participants examine contributing factors for each serious track injury and mortality at the monthly Race Meeting Injury Review Panel," Mr Ainsworth said.

"Measures include enforcing the Greyhound Australasian Rules of Racing such as prohibiting greyhounds racing on consecutive days."

While the commissioner did not comment on the high number of deaths caused as a result of racing, he said an accredited veterinarian and QRIC stewards attend every greyhound race meeting to "ensure dogs are fit-to-race."

"Prior to racing all greyhounds are examined by the officiating veterinary surgeon to ascertain that the greyhound is fit for racing and not showing signs of any illness or injury," Mr Ainsworth said.

"At greyhound race meetings Commission ensures that greyhounds are only euthanised on humane grounds following the expert advice by the officiating veterinary surgeons.

"The Racing Queensland Racing Injury Rebate Scheme provides owners and trainers access to a $5500 rebate for greyhounds that require treatment and rehabilitation following serious injuries sustained during a stewards trial or race."

Mr Ainsworth said any issues associated with greyhound track infrastructure was a Racing Queensland matter.

"The QRIC Stewards conduct track inspections at every venue prior to the running of every race meeting to make sure the track is safe for the welfare of all greyhounds competing at the meeting," he said.

"When risk mitigation measures are identified at individual tracks by the Race Meeting Injury Review Panel that can reduce the risk of future greyhound injuries, these will be implemented."

A Racing Queensland spokesman said the organisation was exploring and adopting new strategies to reduce injury and euthanasia rates of greyhounds racing at Queensland licensed meetings.

"This includes increased vigilance of injury analysis (cause and effect); the development of track curator conferencing; and standardisation across track maintenance, preparation methodology and equipment," the spokesman said.

"At present approximately three per cent of starters across all Queensland greyhound tracks incur injury with the vast majority of those able to return to racing inside a fortnight.

"In recent times, Racing Queensland has engaged with some of the world's most authoritative voices in track design and injury prevention to further inform its decision making, providing new and improved ways to deliver safer racing surfaces."

To read CPG's report in full, click here.

The NewsMail requested comment from Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club but no response was received.