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Media Release 21/9/23

Greyhound racing traceability claims exposed

An undercover investigator has exposed the greyhound racing industry’s claims of greyhound traceability as baseless.

On September 10th 2023 the investigator, using a pseudonym and false details, arranged to collect a greyhound offered for free by ​syndicate owners on Gumtree. The meeting was arranged for a public dog wash. The audio of the encounter was recorded.

Using her listed name, birthdate, and ear tattoo, Animal Liberation Tasmania has identified the greyhound as Zipping Princess. Born in ​2020 in NSW, she was passed through five trainers in four separate states, rarely remaining with a trainer longer than a few months. Her ​last race was in Tasmania on the 24/7/23.

Her body condition was poor. Her coat was full of fleas, flea dirt, dried skin, and smelled like sulfur powder (a home remedy for fleas). She ​had a bloodied ear due to scratching at the fleas. Bald patches and old scars were apparent across her body. Her tail had been broken at ​some point in her life. She was lacking in energy, and disinterested in food. She was emotionally withdrawn and fearful.

The owner is recorded as stating that she was “scared” of one of her recent trainers, intimating rough handling.

Zipping Princess was placed with a private rescue who are experienced with greyhounds. They named her “Jarrah.”

On Wednesday 13th September she was rushed to the vet for emergency surgery, having become inappetent and lethargic. The clinic was ​by chance the same that had spayed her, two weeks prior to rehoming.* Surgery revealed that adhesions had rapidly formed after her ​desexing; her vet record shows that these adhesions were present prior to desexing and noted by the vet. Adhesions form due to ​infection, trauma, or surgery; there were no signs she had had abdominal surgery at any time in her life prior. The adhesions were ​strangling her bowel, blood vessels were twisted, and tissue was dying. Over 10cm of bowel was resected. Hopes for her recovery were ​high.

However, whilst under emergency vet supervision overnight, Jarrah crashed. The next morning her rescuers including the undercover ​investigator held her as she was humanely put to sleep.

She was only three years old.

During the exchange on 10th of September, the investigator was not asked to provide any form of identification, no proof of address, nor ​for photographs showing the housing the greyhound would live in. The form that was filled in and signed was not the official ​retirement/rehoming form listed on the NRE Office of Racing Integrity website. No details of the dog or owners were filled out on the ​form, and the owner instructed the investigator not to fill in the date. The exchange took merely 10 minutes.

Gumtree listings and the recorded exchange of Zipping Princess at a dog wash indicate many dogs are being privately rehomed out of ​the industry. The Quarterly Breeding, Race Injury and Retirement report for April to June 2023 shows nearly 1/3 of greyhounds who ​retired out of the industry in that period were privately rehomed to a third party.

Recently, the Office of Racing Integrity were asked to provide details of their current rehoming and traceability policy. This is yet to be ​provided. Furthermore, they stated that greyhounds rehomed privately by owners were “entirely traceable.”

“The story of Zipping Princess proves that any claims to transparency are baseless. Anyone can take a greyhound through private ​rehoming, if there are no safeguards such as ID checks in place. There is also no way to determine the health of the greyhounds who are ​being privately rehomed, nor to follow what the outcomes are for these dogs. The industry fails yet again.” -Kristy Alger, spokesperson ​Animal Liberation Tasmania.

“The recent Bullock report advised that a lifetime traceability policy be enacted, however the Office of Racing Integrity has stated that ​these dogs are already safeguarded and traceable. This is manifestly untrue. How many dogs over the years have been rehomed with no ​safety net?” -Kristy Alger, spokesperson Animal Liberation Tasmania.

“Imagine if Zipping Princess had ended up in the hands of someone who simply did not care, or did not know the signs of her illness; she ​would have died a terrible and painful death. As it is, the grief felt by the investigator and rescue group is overwhelming. And now a ​private rescue group is left with vet bills in the thousands.” -Kristy Alger, spokesperson Animal Liberation Tasmania.

“How can the general public have any faith in this industry and its claims to animal welfare, when a dog like Zipping Princess can be ​passed from trainer to trainer, state to state, and then end up rehomed with no identity or home checks to a complete stranger via ​Gumtree? Had an investigator not explored this situation no one would have known.” -Kristy Alger, spokesperson Animal Liberation ​Tasmania.

A Dropbox of images and recording can be made available on request to media outlets.

*please note: whilst the vet clinic attended was coincidentally the same one that had desexed her, having recognised her they did not ​reveal any information as to identity, including only information from her prior health records that were relevant to her treatment under ​the care of the rescue group.

*Update: ORI provided Animal Liberation Tasmania with the official private rehoming policy on Tuesday 26/9/2023 at 9:30pm. Animal ​Liberation Tasmania had provided them with full access to evidence proving Zipping Princess’s identity, the identity of the sydnicate ​owners, and the dog’s poor condition two days prior.

Animal Liberation Tasmania is an animal advocacy group founded in 2016, operating in lutruwita/Tasmania.

We acknowledge that we live and work on the unceded lands of the many palawa pakana peoples of lutruwita, and pay our respects to their elders past and present.

Always was, always will be, Aborginal land.

We are committed to creating safer spaces for all people, with a commitment to the principles of total liberation.

Contact us via email.

ABN 96 232 357 293

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