Pecan Minelli became the third greyhound to be euthanised at a West Australian racetrack in eight days after breaking a leg while racing on Tuesday night.
- Zipping Jade, Sandgroper and Pecan Minelli were euthanised after sustaining injuries while racing
- Advocacy group and Greens MLC call for the sport’s end
- Racing and Wagering WA maintain animal welfare is a priority and death and injury rates remain similar to previous years
Speaking to ABC Perth’s Mornings program, Greens MLC Brad Pettitt said the sport, with its dwindling public support, should be phased out over a two-year period.
“We’re going to be asking some questions of the Racing and Gaming Minister [Tony Buti] through the parliamentary process,” he said.
“Too many dogs are getting injured and too many are getting killed.”
Mr Buti told the ABC he was greatly concerned about animal welfare.
“I’ve asked Racing and Wagering WA (RWWA) … that welfare has to be fundamental to the way they manage the sport,” Mr Buti said.
Mr Pettitt is calling on the state government to release greyhound racing from the sale of the TAB and is facilitating an e-petition to parliament by Free the Hounds, a non-for-profit group campaigning to end greyhound racing in WA.
Zipping Jade euthanised after collision
Free the Hounds president Melissa Harrison said three greyhound deaths in eight days was unprecedented in the years she had been following the sport.
“Minister Buti needs to look at what’s going on at these tracks and why it’s occurring,” Ms Harrison said.
“We know there’s upgrades happening, but they haven’t been done properly if Northam is anything to go by.”
The Northam racetrack, which closed in 2019 because of the pandemic and for upgrades and maintenance, had a major incident on the first day of returned racing last Monday when winning dog Zipping Jade had to be euthanised after sustaining considerable injuries from colliding with a catching pen.
In relation to the incident, RWWA chief racing integrity officer Denis Borovica said the Northam track would remain closed until the stewards were satisfied racing could safely return.
“The incident was deeply upsetting for everyone in the racing community and a review is underway,” he said.
Mr Borovica said the state’s three greyhound racetracks – Mandurah, Cannington and Northam – were being upgraded after being assessed by University of Technology Sydney’s Professor David Eager.
“RWWA has invested $366,000 on initial enhancements,” he said.
RWWA maintained the number of deaths and major injuries was consistent with the numbers they had this time last year.
Track deaths are sitting at seven for the financial year and off-track deaths – which include non-racing related and natural cause deaths – up around 50.
The body also said they had had a steady number of raceway attendances with pre-COVID-19 numbers of about 60,000 attendances a year while the last financial year’s figure was about 56,000 people.
Mr Pettitt submitted questions on notice to state parliament on Thursday querying the upgrades Racing and Wagering WA were carrying out.
The government’s answers are expected in June.
Professor Eager was not available to answer questions about his reports and evaluations of the racetracks.