Is greyhound racing banned in Australia?

Last updated 22 May 2023

Unfortunately, with Australia professing to have high animal welfare standards, it is a common misconception that this exploitative ‘sport’ is prohibited. Sadly, this couldn't be further from the truth. Greyhound racing receives financial support from all state governments and they commonly promote the industry as a financially viable industry that supports the economy, despite its reliance on tax-payer sourced funds to continue operating. Shockingly, greyhound racing is promoted as a ‘family friendly’ activity, exposing and desensitising the next generation to gambling and animal abuse.

Australia included, there are only seven countries remaining with a legalised commercial greyhound racing industry, with the others being the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, Vietnam, the United States of America and Mexico. Strong national and international advocacy efforts saw the only track in China, Macau Canidrome, shut permanently in 2018. Further, race tracks in the United States are closing at a rapid rate, with a parliamentary bill tabled to ban greyhound racing outright. Australia, sadly, is trailing behind international standards.

Greyhounds previously housed at Macau Canidrome. Source: Philip Fong / AFP / Getty Images

When incidents occur which attract widespread public interest, there is often a huge upsurgence in concerns for animal welfare and calls for massive reform. Following the live baiting scandal, NSW declared a statewide greyhound racing ban in 2016 due to findings of a special commission of inquiry. The inquiry found “overwhelming evidence of systemic animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting”. Although this ban was sadly overturned, it is indicative of the scope and magnitude of the widespread concerns with regards to animal welfare and industry integrity. 

A possum used as live bait to train greyhounds in Australia. Source: ABC

The ACT banned the industry outright in 2018, but currently there are no formal calls to ban greyhound racing anywhere else in Australia. With increased public scrutiny, welfare advocacy and lack of public support, there is hope that this vile industry will simply ‘run its course’ in the coming years.