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The South Australian greyhound racing industry is facing a new governmental inquiry following an ABC report showing multiple animal abuse instances. Premier Peter Malinauskas is launching the investigation after saying he can no longer rely on industry assurances of animal safety.
The owner of the kennel where the abuse occurred claims the abuse came from a former employee. However, the abuse is likely to reignite debates that greyhound racing should be permanently banned.
On Wednesday, Premier Peter Malinauskas announced that an independent inquiry would be launched to study the greyhound racing industry in South Australia. The investigation comes after an ABC News report showed undisputable evidence of animal cruelty at an Australian breeding camp.
The Premier stated that he is angry over the footage he saw, calling it “animal cruelty at some of its worst.” He continued stating that he can no longer take assurances from industry executives as gospel. Of the footage, he said that “You can’t help but get angry when you see footage like this. It needs a strong response.”
Premier Malinauskas says that he’s determined to discover whether this problem is an isolated incident or a systemic industry problem. The Premier believes that greyhound racing still has a place in SA, “But it’s got to be clean.”
Greyhound racing is a controversial industry, made even more controversial following a recent report from ABC News. Drone footage was released by ABC News last Tuesday and showed some abhorrent behaviour by a dog breeder.
Multiple instances are shown of a breeder kicking at dogs. Other stances show the breeder trying to corral dogs by driving ATVs at them and even dragging them by their collars along the ground. In one instance, another person witnessed the abuse, and that person just stood there watching it happen.
The report revealed that satellite images show the property belongs to trainers Tony and Lisa Rasmussen of Murray Bridge. According to the report, Tony Rasmussen declined an on-camera interview but claimed the abuse came from a former employee. That employee is reportedly terminated, but Mr Rasmussen would not state when that occurred.
In the ABC Report, Greens MLC Tammy Franks states, “This is yet again, another disturbing report coming from within the greyhound industry of ill-treatment of animals again giving rise to the need for an inquiry.”
“The industry itself is based on profit from gambling and racing animals and has had so many accusations of cruelty and inappropriate behaviours. It’s high time for an inquiry, an independent inquiry if not a parliamentary one.”
Ms Franks believes that an inquiry into the industry and moving away from the current regulatory system is necessary. Currently, the greyhound racing industry is self-regulated.
According to reports, Greyhound Racing SA (GRSA) has opened an investigation and suspended the Rasmussens. Also, the dogs have been removed from the property and placed in other training facilities for their safety.
Unfortunately, this is just the latest scandal to hit the industry. In January, Trainer Ian Anderson received a lifetime ban from the sport after reportedly killing four retired greyhounds with a rock.
In June, the GRSA issued lifetime bans for Connor Murray, Jackson Murray, and Troy Murray for live baiting. The training facilities were shut down, and the dogs were removed. Additionally, the trainers received $180,000 in fines.
Many, particularly in the Greens, believe that the greyhound racing industry should be permanently banned. The latest incident will surely reignite these calls, mainly if either of the inquiries shows it to be a systemic problem rather than an isolated incident.