Greyhound racing is notorious for overbreeding and abuse runs rampant. According to GREY2K USA, racing dogs endure lives of confinement in barren warehouse-style kennels for up to 20 hours a day. Often, they are only taken out to compete in a race or relieve themselves during “turn-out” sessions in large groups.
At the track, many suffer severe injuries including broken legs, paralysis, head trauma, and cardiac arrest leading to death. Due to the high rate of injury, overbreeding, and a “throw away” mentality at racing track facilities, it’s estimated that between 3,000 and 8,567 greyhounds are put to death every year in the U.S. alone.
This fate is similar for racing greyhounds in Australia, where a recent report uncovered the widespread use of doping to force dogs to run faster.
Now a new dark side of the greyhound racing industry has been exposed in Australia – healthy dogs deemed “wastage,” or those not fit for races, are brought to veterinarians to be bled out and then euthanized.
Australian veterinary nurses recently came forward about this practice to ABC Australia in a video news report.
“You get eight dogs dropped off, often times they will be just … absolutely bled to death and euthanized, put in a body bag and put in the freezer and taken away for incineration. That’s absolutely routine. No one would bat an eyelid at that being the reality,” said veterinary nurse Selena Cottrell-Dormer.
The dogs are typically brought in by their trainers and placed under anesthesia to be bled out. Up to two liters (or half a gallon) of blood is taken from these dogs.
The blood and plasma are then packaged up in bags to be used for other dogs that come in who need blood transfusions. After the bleed-out, the greyhounds are euthanized while under anesthesia.
“I still remember the first time I had to do it and I couldn’t stop crying. I think my worst day was we had seven brought in by one person and we just had to do seven, one after the other. So, I mean, when you’re euthanizing these dogs, they’re not old dogs, they’re completely healthy. You know, most of them are still standing there wagging their tails and licking your face while you’re actually euthanizing them,” said vet nurse Victoria Luxton-Bain.
Greyhound racing in itself is undeniably horrific, and this new revelation adds yet another point to an already long list of reasons why this industry needs to end.
One vet nurse interviewed by ABC Australia equates the bleed-out practice to “organ theft” or “rounding up the most vulnerable members of a community and exploiting them just because you can.”
If you’re interested in helping greyhounds through adoption or foster programs, read up on a few things to know before taking this step here and then check out these amazing greyhound rescue groups around the U.S. that have a number of hounds patiently waiting for their forever homes.
Image source: Chris / Flickr