Abigail gave an impassioned speech in Parliament about the greyhound racing industry's blatant disregard for animal welfare.
Let me introduce members to Sabine, who is one of 1,352 greyhounds who retired from racing last year—a lucky one. Sabine spent four years and up to 23 hours a day living in a small crate any time that she was not racing or training on tracks before finding a forever home. The first week of her retirement she spent devouring any piece of food that she could get her paws on—anything from bananas to cardboard to muesli bars. She was only 24 kilograms and every single one of her ribs poked through her skin. Each time she was fed, she would consume her entire meal within seconds and cry after eating. A vet then explained that her entire life had been spent in starvation up until that point. She simply did not know if she would be fed again each day.
It took her months to realise that she had access to food whenever she needed and that no meal would be her last. She hates the dark, loud noises, going for walks and most of the outside world. She has scars on her legs, a permanently bent tail from a likely break, and is missing all of the hair on her stomach and hind legs. This is called kennel patch when greyhounds permanently lose patches of hair from years of constant friction from lying on a cement floor. In case it is not clear, greyhounds are not like normal pets. They are not purchased as puppies for young families. They do not grow from 10 weeks old in the care of loving homes. Their value is not based on their adoptability. Greyhounds are a product of the racing industry and all too often they are disposed of as such. They exist for profit and when they are no longer profitable, they go missing.
There are six times the number of greyhounds being retired as there are those that are adopted into homes every year. Where are those dogs going? Let me step you through the retirement of thousands of greyhounds across New South Wales. Say a greyhound has turned five. They have developed arthritis in one leg. They are unable to run. They have stopped winning money. The trainer decides to retire them, but retirement costs time and money. The trainer does not want to wait to transfer them through the Greyhound Adoption Program [GAP] and all the foster agencies are full.
The greyhound is instead given to a friend of the trainer and registered as a pet under the Companion Animals Act. The friend has homed 12 greyhounds from the trainer in the past, but there are none to be found at their property. After arriving, starving and scared, the greyhound is taken outside by the friend into the bush where it is shot and buried in a shallow grave with 12 other missing dogs. No-one aside from the trainer and their friend—not the RSPCA or the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission—know about their death and there is no-one looking for them.
To the industry, retired greyhounds are simply an inconvenience, and their deaths are collateral. We can and we must do so much more to stop these wonderful animals from going missing. That is why The Greens will be continuing to urge the Government to pass our bill to implement genuine whole‑of‑life tracking. Retired dogs will continue to die, nameless and unknown, until this gap is closed.