The state government says greyhound race deaths are declining following a fatal fall at Beckley Park over the weekend making it the 17th dog to die on Victorian tracks this year.
Opponents of the industry say the number of dogs dying from racing is far higher with the inclusion of numbers killed off-track, with the Coalition for Protection of Greyhounds (CPG) claiming the number of dead and injured racing dogs in the state over the last year to be in the thousands.
A Victorian government spokesperson admitted there’s more work to be done, but says an emphasis on greyhound welfare over past years is having positive results.
“Over the past five years racing fatalities have decreased by 55 per cent,” the spokesperson said.
“At the same time racing injuries have continued to fall by 18 per cent and euthanasia rates have also dropped by 61 per cent.”
The General Manager of the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club Ray Bartolo says 2-year old Zipping Vienna died from a spinal fracture after it fell on the first turn of the track during Race 6 on Saturday and the incident is being formally reviewed by the state body’s Racing Integrity Unit.
“The serious injury or loss of any greyhound is both tragic and distressing for our industry and particularly for the owners, breeders and trainers,” he said.
Animal Justice Party MP Georgie Purcell questioned the state’s ongoing support for an industry she claims is declining in popularity.
“We recently attended Beckley Park to see just how many people were going to these races, and it was one of the biggest race events of the year, and there was only a handful of people walking through the gate,”she said.
“I grew up in Geelong…back in the day it was common for people to go to the dogs, now you can barely find anyone who’s willing to go.
“It’s abundantly clear that greyhound racing is becoming deeply unpopular across Geelong and the entire state.”
Image: Beckley Park in Geelong recently recorded the second on track death of a dog this year (Geelong Greyhound Racing Club).