Baby animals ‘used as greyhound bait’

Written By komlim puldel on Senin, 16 Februari 2015 | 20.01

Australians love their sport. Australians also love a punt. Right now, Australians love betting on greyhound racing, the sport based on pushing dogs to their limits. Courtesy ABC/Four Corners.

SICKENING surveillance footage of baby animals being used as live bait has uncovered the greyhound racing's bloody underbelly of alleged organised animal cruelty.

The State Government has promised to crackdown on the industry after allegations that some of Victoria's top trainers and owners have been allowing live possums, piglets and rabits to be slowly mauled to death by racing dogs.

Minister for Racing Martin Pakula has labelled the live baiting practice "barbaric, abhorrent and illegal".

The ABC's Four Corners program on Monday night aired videos showing small animals squealing and being flung around racing tracks as bait.

Other animals were shown injured and stuffed into small boxes.

The live baiting crisis blew up last Wednesday when the RSPCA and police raided a greyhound training centre in Tooradin.

Greyhound Racing Victoria suspended 10 people for ­"alleged live baiting offences".

Among those implicated has been two-time Australian Greyhound Trainer of the Year Darren McDonald, who was allegedly caught on camera carrying a piglet inside a sack into the Tooradin property where dogs then mauled the animal.

Also shamed was successful Victorian trainer Stuart Mills, the brother of Andrew Mills, who was a former deputy chief steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria and now the regulator's chief racing grader.

Live baiting as shown on ABC's Four Corners program.

Another former Greyhound Racing Victoria steward, Paul Aderton, who policed the industry in his former roll, has also allegedly been caught training his dogs with live bait.

Four Corners claimed to have collected 17 videos of live baiting.

The horrific footage has shown dogs released to grab at a possum as it is flung around a racing track 26 times at high speed until it is left hanging by its spinal cord.

Animals Australia has alleged that live baiting has become a spectator sport - with rival trainers and handlers taking time out to watch each other's dogs perform.

One well-known interstate trainer was recorded excitedly telling others to smash a baby possum's head in.

Mr Pakula has promised to stamp out the cruel and illegal ­training technique.

On Monday night he announced he would be cancelling Greyhound Racing Victoria's Industry Award Night, which was due to take place this Friday.

Victoria Police and the RSPCA are investigating and the government has announced an independent investigation of the industry.

A greyhound chases an artificial lure, which is meant to be used in races.

"The Victorian Government takes a zero tolerance approach when it comes to this illegal activity and will take action to stamp out these practices for good," Mr Pakula said.

Anyone convicted of live baiting can be fined more than $30,000, jailed for two years and banned from the sport for 10 years.

RSPCA inspectorate manager Allie Jalbert said the Tooradin raid was based on information which revealed several people were allegedly involved with "significant breaches" in training practices.

Animals Australia obtained surveillance footage of live baiting happening at the Tooradin track, which was also been temporarily shut down.

The RSPCA has since launched its own wider investigation of greyhound training practices.

Greyhound Racing Victoria chief Adam Wallish condemned live baiting as a "disgusting" practice which "has no place in our sport".

"Any person engaged in live baiting can expect to be disqualified and prosecuted," Mr Wallish said.

"We have zero tolerance for these individuals."

tom.minear@news.com.au

Twitter: @tminear

Originally published as Baby animals 'used as greyhound bait'

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