Aussie Greyhound Racing Trainers Suspended for Brutal Live-Lure Tactics

Posted on: September 7, 2023, 05:43h. 

Last updated on: September 8, 2023, 02:11h.

Greyhound racing regulators in the state of Victoria, Australia, have suspended a veteran trainer after a targeted inspection of his kennels unearthed evidence of live-lure training. The practice, called live baiting or “blooding,” is banned for its cruelty.

Leslie Kenyon, Greyhound racing, live lure, Victoria
Victoria greyhound trainer Leslie Kenyon, above, has been suspended from the sport after evidence of live-lure training was found at his kennels in Lara, near Melbourne. (Image: Australian Racing Greyhound)

Trainer Leslie Kenyon and another unnamed individual were suspended immediately after the search of the property in Lara, just outside Melbourne, by Greyhound Racing Victoria’s (GRV) integrity unit. The incident has prompted renewed calls for the state to ban the sport.

Live-lure training involves dogs being baited with live animals — typically rabbits or possums, but sometimes piglets — which they then maul and kill.

Some trainers believe the young dogs will run faster if trained with live lures rather than mechanical ones because it enhances their chase instinct.

Live lure training is a particularly cruel practice in which small animals are torn apart,” Carey Thiel, executive director of greyhound charity Grey2K USA Worldwide told Thursday.

“In recent years, it has been documented in the greyhound racing industry in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. This is one of greyhound racing’s dirty little secrets,” Thiel added.

In a statement, GRV chief Stuart Laing said the accused could face criminal charges over the alleged violations. He added that the industry has “zero tolerance” for live baiting, which “undermine[s] the integrity of the sport and damages the reputation of the greyhound racing industry.”

Pressure Mounting on Industry

It’s the latest in a string of recent animal cruelty scandals that have put Australian greyhound racing into hard focus.

In July, video footage emerged of a man repeatedly kicking and punching dogs, including puppies, and dragging them by their hind legs at a kennel in South Australia. A dozen charges were filed against one of South Australia’s premier trainers, Tony Rasmussen.

In January, a trainer in Victoria was banned for life from the sport for allegedly killing four retired greyhounds by bashing them in the head with a rock.

In 2015, Australian current affairs program Four Corners broadcast a shocking expose of the domestic greyhound racing industry that showed graphic footage of small animals being tied to mechanical lures to be chased and savaged by dogs.

‘Systemic Cruelty’

This prompted an investigation by the state of New South Wales, which concluded that animal cruelty was “widespread and systemic” in the industry.

The report found that between 48,000 and 68,000 dogs had been killed in New South Wales alone in the preceding 12 years because they had failed to make the grade. It also claimed that live-lure training was relatively common and used by around 20% of trainers.

New South Wales banned greyhound racing shortly afterward before taking an extraordinary U-turn on that decision months later.