• Font size:
  • Decrease
  • Reset
  • Increase
Director: Filomena Marta
Periodicidade: Semanal

Australia: Living rabbits, piglets and possums used as bait


Greyhound racing cruelty

by Filomena Marta

The news of the use of rabbits, piglets and possums as live bait in training greyhounds for racing is coming down to Australia and the world. In Australia, a country with a strong tradition in the defence and protection of animals, the use of live bait is a practice prohibited by law. The investigation was made by Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland, and secret footage shows dog trainers using rabbits, piglets and possums alive as bait to stimulate the greyhounds run.


Foto: Four Corners


A trainer was filmed giving instructions to a colleague in order to crush the head of a baby opossum, so the mother could be used as live bait. In another part of the footage greyhounds appear with live animals in the mouth and a possum is pulled alive hanging in the mechanism for almost an hour. The Telegraph quotes Lyn White, chief investigator of Animals Australia, saying: "what we have documented is disgusting, shocking and deeply disturbing - not only the horrific cruelty, but the human behavior that is revealed."

This "horrible cruelty", as defined, is in itself the cruel Greyhound racing industry. Any animal exploitation of animals for entertainment or human consumption is cruel, whether it is circuses, bullfights, horse or dog racing, not to mention the dark dog fighting and cockfighting underworld. The difference is that some are legal cruelty while others acquire contours of crime.

Human society is given to these redundancies and to the separation of the notion of cruelty, until one day some animal defense activist organization reveal shocking images. “Four Corners” showed what people don't want to see: rabbits, piglets and opossums used alive as bait in training of greyhound racing. For the sensitivity of those who eat good steaks, to see greyhounds tearing a small live animal apart is a too violent awakening in the day-to-day life of indifference.



The commotion usually lasts a few weeks, time enough to create petitions and appear in newspaper and television. Then, the (weak) human memory pushes the issue to one of the hidden drawers in the brain, not to think about it anymore. Fortunately, these few weeks of commotion can be sufficient to begin investigations, detect culprits and restore legality. In this case, legality is the continuation of the exploitation of greyhounds, without the unnecessary and cruel death of the poor little animals violently shattered while living baits.

Then, the delight of spectators who attend these macabre "sports" goes on as they place bets, often millionaires bets. Spectators  always indifferent to the suffering of these animals, which is so evident in Spain, where the greyhounds that no longer serve for racing are hanged and their murdered  bodies left hanging, as a bloody evidence of human stupidity.

A Greyhound dead per day in Australia

According to the Humane Society International Australia, cruelty on the tracks of greyhounds is a recurring issue, to the dogs and now also with the revelation of the use of live bait for the practice of greyhounds.
Australia may well have a tradition of animal protection, but at the same time has the third largest greyhound industry in the world, with 77 racing tracks. Just in New South Wales there are 34 greyhound racing tracks. Every year about 20 thousand greyhounds are created for racing in Australia, leading to a huge concern on the issue of excessive reproduction.

Racing injuries are normal, including broken limbs, head injuries, paralysis and cardiac arrest due to exhaustion. There is a lot of information on greyhounds that are inhumanely killed and this industry, littered with allegations of animal cruelty, corruption and excessive reproduction of animals, is also targeted for alleged use of drugs to enhance the performance of the dogs.

On average, a Greyhound dies per day on Australian racetracks. They are killed on behalf of a cruel false-sport, in an industry that moves millions of dollars in bets, like the horse racing industry. A cruelty legally permitted, but increasingly raising dissident voices. Many healthy animals are killed, just because they don't run fast enough.

In February 2014, the authorities of the Greyhound Racing New South Wales announced new standards of animal welfare by establishing tighter control over the reproduction of animals and in rules compliance. Issued licenses limit the number of greyhounds that a trainer can train and the dogs must remain with a registered owner throughout life, unless retired as pets. A step in the right direction, but still not enough for animal rights advocates.

And the terror for the greyhounds of Spain

Greyhounds are often used as a sport in Spain, usually to hunt hares and other small animals. There they are called “galgos”. However, according to various reports and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, hundreds of thousands of Spanish greyhounds are cruelly killed by hanging every year at the end of the hunting season. 



In a macabre way, the dogs that more skills demonstrate in the hunt see their talent rewarded by being hanged at greater height or with shorter ropes, which allows them to have a quicker death. Dogs with worse performance are usually hanged with longer ropes, so that their hind feet barely touch the ground, forcing them to suffer a slow and agonizing death. This method is called "typewriter" because the hind legs touching repeatedly on the floor sound like the clicks of a typewriter.




Dogs that are not killed with these refinements of wickedness do not face a better fate because they are kept in deplorable conditions. Many are abandoned or forced to face horrible deaths, like being burned alive ... and even injected with bleach.

These acts of terrible cruelty are not illegal in Spain, because animal protection laws only apply to dogs that are considered pets. Stray dogs and hunting or sports dogs are not considered pets, therefore, are not protected by anti-cruelty laws.



Animal rights activists state that the Spanish hunters hang, drown and poison 50 thousand greyhounds every year, according to information from The Guardian.

The greyhounds are used on a species of hare hunting contest, in which two dogs chase a hare and the one that gets closer to the bait wins the race. But dogs must mimic the twists of the hares, and those who are not able to do it "humiliate" their owners and are referred to as "dirty greyhounds” and are killed by the "typewriter" method.

Hundreds are abandoned and rescued by animal protection groups, but are animals so traumatized and so scared of humans that cannot walk in a city or be adopted by those who do not have a garden or other dogs they can live with.

Sources: Force Change, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Independent, ABC Australia, Animals Australia, Animal Liberation Queensland, BBC News, Business Insider, Sky News


Add comment

Security code



Rescue Animal Videos


Flag Counter