No comparison says animal welfare group

No comparison says animal welfare group

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Dr Garnett Hall believes greyhounds wouldn’t race if they didn’t want to.

The public face of Racing and Wagering WA’s [RWWA] Greyhounds As Pets [GAP] month has compared the injuries racing dogs face with “human sport”.

Acclaimed veterinarian and animal welfare advocate Dr Garnett Hall is in his third year as a GAP ambassador and is a greyhound owner.

Last year, RWWA’s GAP program saw 67 retired racing greyhounds find new homes, with 211 applications made by potential adoptees.

He said it was an honour to be a part of RWWA’s program.

“I just love greyhounds, I get to see them all the time in my job and they’re very sweet dogs that have a knack to making you fall in love with them,” he said.

“To be able to do my part to help them find their new homes is something I love doing.

“When I lived just outside of Brisbane, I met my now-wife and she had a pet greyhound called Rosie, she was an amazing dog and until you’ve owned a greyhound you don’t realise how special they are.

“They’re extremely affable, Rosie was a retired racer and she basically spent 23-and-a-half hours a day lying on her side, just completely placid and super-friendly.”

He said he thought of greyhounds as pets much like one would think about a high-performance athlete retired from sport.

“We have specifically trained animal behaviouralists and they almost do a transition program to get them ready to be pets, then we match them to a specific household.

“The reality is that greyhounds are a very popular pet and rehoming them isn’t much of a challenge.

However, when it comes to reconciling his role as an animal welfare advocate with the very real dangers of death and injuries associated with greyhound racing, Dr Hall likened greyhound racing to “human sport”.

“I think it’s good to make a comparison to human sport, because we can accept that humans can do sport at a very high level and they have a career that spans a number of years before they need to retire, and a lot of human athletes struggle with their retirement.

“I think greyhounds have a better transition.

“Everyone who owns a greyhound knows its very hard to force a greyhound to do something it doesn’t want to do, they’re very stubborn.

“There’s no way you could make a greyhound race if it didn’t want to.

“They have a drive for it and they enjoy it.

“The love the trainers have for these animals is incredible.”

Free the Hounds president Mel Harrison said that while GAP was a worthy initiative, greyhounds couldn’t be compared to human athletes.

“Human athletes do not get euthanised or have their limbs amputated when injured, do not spend over 23 hours a day in a kennel, and are not subjected to artificial insemination and the siring of thousands of offspring when commercially successful.

“Further, greyhounds do not have a choice whether or not to participate in commercial racing.

“There is no doubt greyhounds love to run and chase, however racing is purely a human constraint which has been imposed on them for gambling profit.

“The very fact greyhounds even need “trainers” tells us that there is an amount of coaxing and conditioning the greyhounds to chase the lure.”

Throughout April, GAP will discount its adoption fee from $350 to $75, with all greyhounds vet checked, fully vaccinated, microchipped, sterilised and ready for adoption.

GAP matches greyhounds with homes based on their individual needs, to ensure the right fit for both the greyhound and their new family.

For more information about adopting a greyhound or to complete an application form to adopt, please visit www.greyhoundsaspets.com.au.