Painful and invasive racing greyhound breeding technique should be banned, vets say – The Guardian

‘Horrific’ technique which involves removing the uterus is unnecessary and outdated, animal welfare activists say
Vets want an invasive and painful greyhound breeding technique, which involves removing the uterus, banned across Australia.
About 80% of racing greyhounds in NSW are bred using surgical artificial insemination. The Australian Veterinary Association has released a new policy declaring SAI “must not be performed in dogs”.
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“It involves general anaesthesia of the animal, laparotomy [abdominal incision], exteriorisation of the uterus and transuterine wall introduction of (typically) frozen thawed semen into the uterine lumen,” it says.
The uterus is then replaced into the abdomen, and the surgical incision sewn up.
The association said this “previously accepted” way of impregnating dogs was invasive and caused unnecessary pain, while transcervical insemination (TCI), which uses a special instrument to put sperm directly into the uterus, was painless and safe.
The president of the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, Andrea Pollard, said greyhound racing had lost its social licence in Australia because of deaths, injuries and animal welfare issues including SAI.
Research commissioned by CPG and the world’s largest greyhound protection agency, GREY2K USA Worldwide, shows most Australians want greyhound racing banned.
The survey of 804 adults found almost six in 10 wanted the industry phased out or banned, while seven in 10 wanted a stop to any government subsidies.
About six in 10 said they would be less likely to support a political party that was in favour of subsidies.
“We don’t want greyhounds dying and getting injured,” Pollard said. “Last year on Australian tracks, 213 dogs were killed and there were more than 10,195 injuries. The most common injury is at the curve of the track … they’re going around a bend, they can catapult and shatter their legs.”
She called SAI “horrific”, saying arguments that it was the best way to achieve the best outcomes “don’t stack up”.
“Not surprisingly, the industry’s arguments in favour of SAI make no sense,” Pollard said. “They fail to respect scientific advancements in canine AI, like TCI.”
Greyhound Racing NSW has argued that the practice conforms to “the highest standards of animal welfare”, that banning it would have a “significant impact” on the industry, and that the greyhound industry had been unfairly targeted.
Greyhounds Australasia (GA) said it was “committed to the care and welfare of greyhounds as the first priority”.
“GA is aware of the Australian Veterinary Association policy and awaits further information and engagement from the AVA on its recommendations,” a spokesperson said.
SAI should be phased out by the start of next year, the AVA said, with veterinarians trained in TCI, and dog breeders educated about the welfare issues.
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Earlier this year the RSPCA said SAI was “highly invasive” and caused “significant pain”. It is banned in some European Union countries because it is considered “ethically unacceptable”, the association said.
Sentient, the veterinary institute for animal ethics, said there was “no evidence base to support the greyhound industry’s view of surgical AI as being superior” and that TCI was “equally effective”.
Christine Dorchak, GREY2K Worldwide’s president and general counsel, said Australia was “the capital of greyhound suffering worldwide”.
GREY2K has gone state by state in the US to campaign to end racing, using legislative and community initiatives. There were once 50 racetracks in 19 states, Dorchak said, but now there were only two tracks in just one state – West Virginia – and a federal bill to make it illegal nationwide.
“Other countries, especially Australia with the largest industry, will be the focus,” from now, she said.
“It’s an antiquated industry with a compulsion for cruelty. We believe it’s going to end worldwide, but it will take work.”
On SAI she said “the goal is wrong, the method is cruel, and it’s a complete waste [because excess greyhounds are bred]”.
“Why would this industry breed more victims? Don’t breed more greyhounds, breed fewer.”
Greyhound Racing NSW and Greyhounds Australasia were contacted for comment.

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