Victoria to digitally track greyhounds as deaths spike

Whole-of-life tracking of Victorian greyhounds has hit the home straight but the industry is still being dogged by track deaths and concerns of over-breeding and rehoming.

An incoming digital platform will record the health and location of registered greyhounds from birth, throughout their racing career and into retirement and death.

Owners, trainers, vets, racing clubs and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) staff will be required to capture information including details on microchipping, vaccinations, trainers and ownership.

The Victorian government is pouring $1.6 million into the digital scheme, with GRV tipping in another $418,000.

It is expected to be up and running from July and fully implemented in the next two years.

Racing Minister Anthony Carbines said greyhound data was currently collected manually and sat across multiple platforms.

He said the digital platform would make it easier for vets, stewards and people wanting to adopt a greyhound to view its life history.

"At the moment there are too many paper-based arrangements," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"We want it in real-time, we want it to be accurate, we want it to be up to date."

GRV chief executive Stuart Lang said mandatory check-ins would also form part of the whole-of-life digital tracking program.

"We'll be able to share that information with local councils, with pounds et cetera so that they're also able to track and follow up," he said.

Twenty greyhounds have died racing on Victorian tracks in 2024, eight more than any other state, according to the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds.

Mr Lang insisted the number of track deaths in Victoria was trending down in the medium term.

"Greyhound fatalities have reduced by about 51 per cent over the last five years," he said.

"We'd like to see those numbers continue to come down."

Greyhounds
Animal Justice MP Georgie Purcell says Victoria faces a greyhound over-breeding and rehoming crisis. (Joe Castro/AAP PHOTOS)

A greyhound track at Cranbourne in Melbourne's outer southeast was closed in January 2022 following a high number of fatalities and injuries.

A Victorian greyhound trainer and fellow registered industry member were also suspended in September after evidence of luring and baiting was found during a targeted inspection of a property at Lara, near Geelong.

Animal Justice MP Georgie Purcell said the state government committed to whole-of-life tracking of Victorian greyhounds in March 2023 after she raised the issue in parliament.

She said the announcement's timing was "convenient", as Mr Carbines and GRV faced pressure over record track deaths, with Victoria the deadliest state in the nation for greyhound racing.

"While it is a welcome announcement, this is not about welfare - it is about transparency," Ms Purcell said.

"In the midst of an over-breeding and rehoming crisis, it will reveal just how many puppies are being bred - something the industry has previously refused to share.

"It will also uncover just how many dogs are being sent to other states to disappear, discreetly shipped overseas to racing rings, or are being killed when no longer profitable."

She called on the government to implement a breeding cap and fund volunteer-run and donor-fuelled community rescue groups, declaring they were rehoming more dogs than industry programs such as the one run by GRV.

Mr Lang acknowledged falling adoption demand had made it harder to rehome retired greyhounds.