Live baiting refers to the practice of using live animals for the purpose of training greyhounds. This practice is illegal in all states and territories in Australia (see attached table for legal wording).
Live baiting involves small animals such as a rabbits, possums or piglets being used as a lure or bait to train greyhounds to race around a track. ‘Bait’ animals are tied by rope to the mechanical lure and are hurled at speed around the track while greyhounds are released to pursue, catch and maul them. Live baiting may also involve pulling animals on leads/ropes and inciting dogs to maul them. The animals involved experience pain, fear, injury and distress and will eventually die. The same animals may be used repeatedly, suffering a very long and painful death.
While all states and territories in Australia prohibit live baiting, current legislative provisions do not go far enough to ensure that offenders can be prosecuted. The RSPCA believes that state and territory animal welfare laws must be amended to introduce the following two offences:
- An offence to have custody or control of a “prescribed animal” (to include all species commonly used in baiting) at the same premises where greyhounds are kept in connection with racing; and
- An offence to kill an animal for the purposes of using that animal’s carcass for baiting, coursing or training a greyhound in connection with racing.