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Dog lovers from across Perth are expected to protest against greyhound racing outside the Cannington racetrack on Saturday.

The peaceful protest, organised by local greyhound advocacy group Free the Hounds, is the second protest in four months. More than 75 people and a dozen pet greyhounds dedicated their New Year’s Eve to the cause, displaying creative anti-racing signs and temporary crosses to represent the greyhounds who lost their lives within the racing industry in the year prior.

Free the Hounds has been actively campaigning for an end to greyhound racing in WA since 2015. “Our position is greyhound racing is outdated, inhumane and unsustainable,” said Free the Hounds President, Alanna Christiansen.

Racing and Wagering WA’s most recent annual report shows 101 greyhounds in the WA racing industry died in the 2019-20 financial year*, including eight who died right at the track.

The report also shows a total of 855 injuries were sustained on WA tracks during this period including fractured bones. This represents a 10% increase in injuries from the previous year.

“The rate and severity of these injuries are specific to racing and so the only way to eliminate the risk is to ban greyhound racing altogether. These injuries can cause extreme pain and discomfort to the dog, treatment can involve major surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation, and there are often long-term health implications. Some dogs continue to be euthanised due to the severity of their injuries or die under anaesthetic during surgery to fix them.

“These dogs deserve so much better than this, and gambling revenue should never be a justification for this suffering,” said Ms Christiansen.

Greyhound racing is already banned in the ACT and Free the Hounds believes WA will be the next jurisdiction to outlaw the practice. “The popularity of greyhound racing in Australia has been steadily declining – and even more so here in WA. There are just three tracks in WA and attendance is low. With animal welfare becoming a higher priority for more and more members of the community, now is the time to ban this barbaric industry,” said Ms Christiansen.

It is clear from Free the Hounds’ community outreach activities that greyhound racing has lost its social licence and the wider WA community supports an end to greyhound racing. A petition opposing greyhound racing, signed in person by more than 10,000 West Australians will be tabled in WA Parliament in coming weeks.