The bodies were found by a member of the public near Bundaberg on Wednesday – refocusing attention on the dark side of Australia’s greyhound racing industry less than two months after an ABC Four Corners expose sparked widespread outrage over the use of live baiting to train competitive greyhounds.
The programme showed racing dogs chasing and mauling live possums, rabbits and piglets, and led to the swift establishment of a joint RSPCA and Queensland Police taskforce to investigate the scandal.
That same taskforce is now investigating the discovery of the dogs’ carcases, with ABC reporting that two people from Bundaberg have already been arrested and charged in connection with the mass dumping. It says a 71-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman have both been charged with illegal possession of a firearm. The woman – a licensed greyhound trainer – has additionally been charged with obstructing police.
Prior to the arrests RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty told the Brisbane Times the dogs had probably been killed before the Four Corners special was screened on February 16. “Unfortunately, as I think most people would be aware, there’s always been a lot of wastage in the greyhound industry,” he said. “The indications are that these may just be young dogs that didn’t have the speed, basically. But that’s really all we know.”
Bobby Etheridge, from the Friends of the Hound rescue group, told the newspaper: “It’s horrible, and really shocking to those who don’t know about it, but it’s everyday business in the greyhound world. We have been trying to tell people this for years, but it falls on deaf ears every time because there’s too much money involved.”
Racing Queensland chief executive Darren Condon described the discovery as “a despicable circumstance”. He told the Brisbane Times: “We’ll obviously work with police to assist in their investigations and take the appropriate response.”
The Four Corners programme has already led to numerous animal cruelty charges. In Queensland, 36 trainers have been suspended over the scandal, with six issued with life bans. In addition, the Queensland government has ordered an independent review into the state’s greyhound industry.