Greyhound Racing New South Wales charges 179 “industry participants” with illegally supplying the only track in China
RHODES, New South Wales, Australia; MACAU, China––Charges brought against 179 Australian “industry participants” for allegedly illegally exporting greyhounds to Macau appear likely to hasten the anticipated imminent end of greyhound racing at the Macau Canidrome, the oldest and last bastion of the greyhound industry in China.
“Greyhound Racing New South Wales has issued charges against 179 industry participants for potential breaches of the Greyhound Racing Rules,” the organization announced on June 9, 2016. “The charges have been issued as part of an ongoing inquiry launched by Greyhound Racing New South Wales last December into suspected unauthorized exports of greyhounds to Macau,” a media release said.
Greyhound exports to Macau banned since 2013
Formed in 2002 to supervise the New South Wales greyhound industry, Greyhound Racing New South Wales is a member of Greyhound Racing Australasia. Greyhound Racing Australasia prohibited greyhound exports to Macau in 2013 because Macau, a former Portuguese colony on the Chinese coast, does not meet Australian animal welfare standards.
The Greyhound Racing New South Wales inquiry into alleged illegal greyhound exports to Macau was assisted by the organization’s “new investigation and intelligence unit,” the organization said.
“Dog owners & trainers”
“Rule 124 of the Greyhound Racing Rules currently requires that any person intending to export a greyhound from Australia to any other country (excluding New Zealand) must, prior to meeting the quarantine and inspection service requirements of the relevant country, obtain a greyhound passport and certified pedigree issued by Greyhounds Australasia,” the media release explained.
A Greyhound Racing New South Wales spokesperson “declined to comment on who had been charged, how many dogs had been sent to Macau, and over what period,” said Australian Associated Press, but the 179 suspects are “believed to be dog owners and trainers,” AAP added.
No adoptions from Canidrome
“The Australian greyhound racing industry exports hundreds of greyhounds to supply and stimulate racing industries in other countries,” according to the Animals Australia web site, “where most of them will be killed after their racing days. One of the biggest markets is Macau — where the Canidrome racing track does not allow any dogs to be adopted.”
Parallel to the Greyhound Racing New South Wales action against alleged greyhound exporters, the Irish Department of Agriculture is reportedly close to adopting a regulatory amendment which would allow the Irish Greyhound Board to halt exports of greyhounds from Ireland to Macau and other Asian destinations.
Will contract be renewed?
“It has become ‘more and more difficult’ to import greyhounds to Macau. That will be a ‘crucial aspect for the government to consider when making a decision on the contract renewal of the concessionaire of the Canidrome,’ a government source close to the process” told the Macau Daily Times on May 25, 2016. The current contract will expire in December 2016
“The Times has also been informed,” the report continued, “that a study on greyhound race operation in Macau, conducted by the Institute of Studies at the University of Macau, has already been handed to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The official added that “a decision will be made in one or two months” on whether or not renew the concession contract with Yat Yuen, Canidrome Co.
Demonstrations in Ireland
“The government commissioned the UM study right after having extended the contract for one year with Yat Yuen, the company that runs the Canidrome, back in December 2015,” the Macau Daily Times continued.
“Recent demonstrations worldwide, especially in Ireland, against the import and export of greyhounds, demanding the closure of the Macau racetrack – a ruinous business operation subsidized by the government – ‘may have expedited the process,’” according to the Macau Daily Times’ unidentified inside source.
“A global petition promoted online by [the Macau animal advocacy organization] Anima and its outspoken president, Albano Martins, has been signed by over 360 thousand people worldwide,” the Macau Daily Times added.
35 greyhounds killed per month
The Canidrome kills about 35 greyhounds per month, Simon Parry of the South China Morning Post has reported, adding that “They are usually put down if they fail to finish in the top three for five consecutive races.”
The U.S. anti-greyhound racing organization Grey 2K has estimated that 383 dogs were killed at the Macau Canidrome in 2010, up from 322 in 2009, and that 302 dogs were injured on the track in one 10-week stretch.
Revenue down by half
The Macau Canidrome at that time imported from 360 to 380 racing greyhounds per year, about 280 of them from Australia. Ireland was the next largest supplier of greyhounds to Macau, but sent only a few dozen per year.
Macau Canidrome gambling revenues came to more than $40 million in 2010, according to data collected by Grey 2K, but fell by nearly half through 2013.
Qantas, the Australian national airline, in December 2015 quit transporting greyhounds to all Asian destinations, soon after an Australian Broadcasting Corporation report questioned the fate of greyhounds who were exported to Macau, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, and the Philippines.
Are greyhounds eaten?
All of these destinations have greyhound racing industries, but dogs are also eaten by small minorities of the populations of each importing nation, although eating dogs has been illegal in the Philippines since 1996, and dog consumption is associated with participating in vice, including gambling.
The linkage of dog-eating with vice has raised concern in Australia and Ireland––despite a lack of evidence––that exported greyhounds may end up in hot pots.
Lack of evidence
Animals Australia investigator Lyn White inspected the Vietnamese greyhound racing facilities and dog meat markets for the Animals Asia Foundation in late 2002 and found no evidence that greyhounds were being sold for human consumption, or could be, since Vietnamese consumers prefer fat puppies rather than hard-muscled older dogs.
White’s investigation appears to remain the only on-the-ground attempt to discover a connection between the greyhound industry and the dog meat traffic. But photos have surfaced of greyhounds being electrocuted in the same manner as dogs sold for meat, and some of the dog remains shown in some photos of dog meat markets appear to have been from greyhound-like dogs.
The greyhounds exported to Macau are only some of those culled by the Australian racing industry. Greyhound Racing New South Wales in November 2012 admitted to Timothy McDonald of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that about 3,000 ex-racing greyhounds per year are killed in New South Wales alone.
The November 2012 exposé followed a cruel hoax on April Fool’s Day 2012 in which Macau media were duped into reporting that Anima and the Macau Yat Yuen Canidrome Company Ltd. had signed an agreement to allow Anima to rehome ex-racing greyhounds, a first in Canidrome history. Nevada casino owner Steve Wynn had reportedly donated $250,000 to build kennels for the rescued dogs. The report was amplified by Grey 2K, Animals Australia, and Anima.
Within 24 hours, however, Anima founder Albano Martins advised Grey 2K and Animals Australia that there was no such deal.
Public mass executions
The Macau Canidrome opened in 1930, two years after the Shanghai Canidrome introduced greyhound racing to China.
Closed by the Communist Party in 1949, the Shanghai Canidrome was later used for rallies and public mass executions. Most of the Shanghai site was demolished in 2005 for redevelopment.