BY KENJI SATO
Millie the greyhound was born in a breeding kennel in Campbelltown. She would have been sold into a life of racing, but she lost one of her paws when she was a six week old puppy.
It would turn out to be a blessing in disguise. She was adopted by Nora Anderson-Dieppe, who took pity on the three-and-a-half legged puppy.
“When I picked her up from the breeding kennel they told me there was an accident – that her mother had bitten some toes off. When we got home we took her to the vets. They took the bandage off, and it was a completely raw and open stump. Vets classed it as a traumatic amputation. We still don’t know exactly how it happened because the vets told us there was no way her mother bit her toes off. No way.”
Millie now walks, a little unsteadily, on a prosthetic leg.
“She doesn’t fully weight-bear but she uses it when she runs and swims. But she’s just a very happy girl. Nothing fazes her,” Nora says.
But Millie’s brother, Jack, was not so fortunate. After performing poorly on a NSW trial racetrack, he was exported to Macau, China, where he now races alongside over 700 other greyhounds in the Canidrome racetrack, the only legal greyhound racetrack in Asia.
Jack has placed 5th and 6th in his last 6 races at the Canidrome, and unless his track record improves, it is likely that he will be euthanised.
Jack is one of the thousands of Australian greyhounds sent to the Canidrome until late 2015. Australia supplied around 400 greyhounds a year to the stadium, until exports halted under pressure from animal rights groups, such as Animals Australia and Animal Liberation.
But that has made little difference to the Candrome, which now imports its greyhounds from Ireland instead.
At a rally outside the Irish Consulate in Sydney last week June 2, Nora met with animal activists from Animal Liberation NSW, the Animal Justice Party, and the Greens NSW, to demand a ban on greyhound exports from Australia and Ireland.
Mark Pearson MLC, head of the Animal Justice Party, said it was “unacceptable” to export greyhounds to Macau, given its lax animal protection laws.
“Ireland has an extraordinary reputation for leading the world in protecting animals. When you have such high standards, it is an atrocity to then put an animal on a plane or a ship and send it to a country where those same fundamental principles of protection and care of animals are not in place.”
Video footage gathered by Animals Australia and broadcast by the ABC revealed that the greyhounds were kept in small cells, and slow or injured racers were routinely euthanised.
Following the media coverage, the Qantas and Cathay Pacific airlines began refusing to transport greyhounds from Australia. But Mehreen Faruqi said that there was no guarantee that the exports wouldn’t continue.
“With the good work of Animals Australia, Animal Liberation, and others, thankfully the export of greyhounds from Australia has dried up at the moment. But we need to make sure that it never starts up again. We need watertight legislation to be able to do that. The Greens NSW have a bill in parliament which will ban greyhound racing, and will also stop the export of greyhounds for breeding or racing purposes.”
“No dog, Jack, Milly, or anyone else, deserves to die for a bet. And yet tens of thousands do, and this must be stopped. This is an urgent matter.”
Lynda Stoner, CEO of Animal Liberation NSW, said she was optimistic that the Canidrome would close down, and the Jack would be brought home.
“We know what’s happening in this country and we want Millie’s brother, Jack, to be shown some love and compassion. We want Jack to come home to Australia. Jack has become the pinup to this whole greyhound racing mess. Some 370,000 people have already signed change.org calling for this racing track to be banned and media coming out of Hong Kong suggests that this racing track will be closing down perhaps in the next couple of months.”
If the Canidrome does close down and Jack is reunited with his sister, it will be the first time the two dogs have met in nearly 3 years. But time is not on Jack’s side. If he is injured on the racetrack, or if he continues to perform poorly, then he may be put down any day now.
Nora is campaigning to #bringjackhome. She says she wants all of the Canidrome greyhounds to be adopted out, before it is too late.