The Fight to End Dog Racing Goes Worldwide!
In July 2015, GREY2K USA Worldwide President Christine Dorchak and Executive Director Carey Theil visited three countries to learn more about the dog racing industry and to join hands with other advocates now working to end this cruelty. The three-week trip began in New Zealand, progressed to Australia and finished with an international meeting in Macau, SAR of China.
In New Zealand, they visited the Manukau dog track with Lynn Charlton of the Greyhound Protection League of NZ and Tracey Coyle of Saving Wilma. Bob Kerridge, Executive Director of the prestigious SPCA of Auckland then welcomed them to his office to discuss strategies for better protecting greyhounds, including the passage of the country’s first welfare code for racing dogs. Mandy Carter and Marianne Macdonald of SAFE also expressed strong interest in working together on a campaign to close down the country’s ten dog tracks.
Before leaving, the GREY2K USA team was interviewed by several reporters including Catriona MacLennan who wrote a wonderful blog about the organization’s work and our growing presence in the world.
In Australia, Christine and Carey visited the wonderful team at Animals Australia led by Glenys Oogjes and Lyn White, followed by a meeting with Sam Clark of ABC’s Four Corners. Sam was one of the producers of a groundbreaking expose of live lure training in February. As distinguished from New Zealand, regulators here were open about the many problems now besieging their industry. Scott Parker of Greyhounds Australasia and later, Paul Newson of Greyhound Racing New South Wales each expressed concern for the plight of racing dogs.
In Melbourne, GREY2K USA leaders met with representatives of the Animal Justice Party, the Greyhound Equality Society and Amazing Greys Greyhound Rescue and Adoption. These are among the many professional voices now aligned to help end dog racing in this part of the country.
A visit to the New South Wales Parliament in Sydney was another highlight of the trip. Several MP’s including John Kaye, Lee Rhiannon and Mark Pearson made it clear that they will be working hard against the cruelty of greyhound racing and welcome the support of advocates around the world. A visit to Wentworth Park, accompanied by Anne Lloyd-Jones of Animals Asia confirmed our belief that interest in live racing is a thing of the past around the globe. We followed with a drive out to meet the many dogs and wonderful volunteers at Greyhound Rescue. A final dinner meeting with Dr. Rosemary Elliott and attorney Caroline Hoetzer of Sentient informed us about the special challenges facing greyhounds used in medical experimentation. A final meeting with Dr. Rosemary Elliott and attorney Caroline Hoetzer of Sentient informed them about the special challenges facing greyhounds who are used in medical experimentation. Before leaving, Christine and Carey were interviewed by several journalists including online host Katrina Fox, Fenella Souter and Natalie O’Brien, both star reporters for the Sydney Morning Herald.
Brisbane was the last stop for Christine and Carey in Australia. They were taken by Hayley Cotton of Animal Liberation to view industry breeding farms and to visit the Ipwish dog track. She showed them the training tracks where she had discovered and secretly videotaped live lure baiting of greyhounds with possums, baby pigs, rabbits and chickens. It was a startling and sad afternoon.
During their last evening in Australia, Katrina Koutssellis of Friends of the Hound, Inez Hamilton-Smith of Gone are the Dogs, Chay Neal of Animal Liberation and Sylvana Wenderhold of the Animal Welfare League met with GREY2K USA leaders to share information and discuss strategies for moving forward together to help the greyhounds.
Next, Christine and Carey headed to Macau, to help lead an international roundtable meeting to close down the Canidrome, the worst dog track in the world. China's only dog track has no adoption program and no dog gets out alive. Signed by leaders from Animals Asia, Animals Australia, the RSPCA UK, RSPCA Australia, and four Chinese and Taiwainese shelters, a group letter to the Chief Executive was issued and delivered by Albano Martins, the head of ANIMA, the only animal shelter on Macau. A petition with nearly 300,000 signatures was submitted in a private meeting with government officials the next day. Then, on September 30, 2015, individuals and organizations in ten countries joined GREY2K USA and held candlelight vigils for the doomed greyhounds. As long as the Canidrome remains open, hundreds of dogs will be imported from Australia to their certain deaths each year. We are working to change this.
GREY2K USA’s leaders left with a renewed purpose to continue working around the world, with like-minded groups and people to fight for the greyhounds!