Artist's impressions of the new $40m greyhound tracks at Ipswich.
Artist's impressions of the new $40m greyhound tracks at Ipswich.

Anger after ninth greyhound dies at racetrack this year

GREYHOUND welfare advocates are labelling the Ipswich racetrack as the "second most lethal" in the country after a ninth dog died there this year.

The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds believes the deaths show the "absurdity" of the State Government building a new $40 million greyhound racing complex in the city.

The government and the racing industry say the modern facility would improve animal welfare and be a massive boost for the Ipswich economy.

Artist impressions of the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre.
Artist impressions of the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre.

Construction on the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre at Purga is expected to start in 2022, with a one-turn track, two-turn facility and a straight track to be built.

In race three of the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club meeting on September 11, Bud's Fire was euthanised after sustaining a severely broken foreleg.

The injury happened after she collided with other dogs at the first turn.

Coalition state director for Queensland Anne Hendley said according to stewards' reports, 21 greyhounds have been killed in Ipswich and Brisbane so far this year.

The group says 148 greyhounds have died while racing on Australian tracks in 2020, with 196 injuries recorded at Ipswich.

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More than 65,000 people have signed a petition against the new facility.

"The Ipswich track as it exists now is the second most lethal track in Australia out of the 65 tracks that there are," she said.

 

Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds state director Anne Hendley.
Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds state director Anne Hendley.

 

"It just shows that the deaths and injuries are going to continue, especially with the building of a new stadium.

"Of the three tracks that are proposed to be built in the new stadium in Ipswich, two of them are still curved and only one is straight.

"An industry funded study done in 2017 by the University of Technology in Sydney found that having straight tracks greatly improved the chances of a greyhound surviving the race.

"They're still building two more curved tracks at Ipswich. Why aren't they listening?"

The study recommended bend starts be progressively phased out at tracks, an extended lure installed at all venues and the number of starters reduced from eight dogs to six.

CPG says according to stewards' reports, 85 per cent of greyhound deaths in Australia this year were caused by accidents at track turns.

Artist impressions of the world's most advanced and sophisticated greyhound racing complex to be built in Ipswich.
Artist impressions of the world's most advanced and sophisticated greyhound racing complex to be built in Ipswich.

"There's got to be a better way," Ms Hendley said.

"It's not fool proof as Capalaba racetrack will show. There's been two dogs killed there on straight tracks.

"It's a step in the right direction to build straight tracks which is just being ignored.

"Queensland taxpayers would be appalled to see their dollars supporting a gambling industry that shows total disregard for the lives of dogs.

"The only way to end the suffering of greyhounds is to ban racing."

CPG has five demands to reform the racing industry including whole-of-life tracking of greyhounds, funding of sanctuaries, safer tracks, a reduction in breeding and increased penalties for mistreatment.

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Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club president Colin Fry said nobody in the racing industry likes to see any animals suffer unnecessarily.

The club has been racing at the Ipswich Showgrounds for about 40 years.

"Obviously we do not like to see these issues and we pass on our condolences to connections," he said.

"The industry is aware of our community expectation on animal welfare and the new Purga project will only enhance that for all."

The Ipswich club, which will become part of a Greater Brisbane Greyhound Club when the relocation is complete, hopes to be in the new complex in 2024.

"The new Purga project has been under planning for a while now with the emphasis on the new project being animal welfare," Mr Fry said.

A protest was held against the new greyhound track set for Ipswich in February.
A protest was held against the new greyhound track set for Ipswich in February.

"The racing participants and government, through Racing Queensland, have seen a lot of changes in recent times with procedures and assistance with programs, to reduce the numbers of greyhounds that require humane euthanasia due to on-track injuries.

"Racing Queensland have undertaken expert advice from university studies and other professionals to provide the safest racetrack and surfaces with the latest technologies to minimise race injuries.

"This includes start box position, track turn diameters, cambers … pre race and after race checks and rehabilitation for the dogs.

"The expectation is that (the Purga complex) will also be a community area with parklands and picnic areas, not just for greyhound racing."

Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said animal welfare would be at the "core of the design and construction" of the new Purga venue.

Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club president Colin Fry.
Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club president Colin Fry.

"The new Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre will be a world-standard track with the welfare of the racing animals at its heart," he said.

"We know that the new tracks and infrastructure are going to ensure the viability and vitality of an industry that supports hundreds of jobs.

"When greyhound racing started in Albion Park and the Ipswich showgrounds in the 1980s and 1990s, the tracks they were racing on met the animal welfare standards of the day.

"Today those standards are just so much higher, which is why Racing Queensland has consulted with experts, including Professor David Eager from the School of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at Sydney's University of Technology."

Mr Hinchliffe said the complex would be the only one in Australia to feature three tracks and about 80 jobs will be supported or created during construction.

"Annually, greyhound racing contributes more than $125 million to the Brisbane and Ipswich economies and supports almost 1000 full-time jobs," he said.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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