The greyhound racing industry in Australia is big business these days, with around 4 billion Australian dollars (£2.04 bn) bet on the races each year by eager punters. Disturbing news has come to light recently though, that casts a dark shadow on the practices of those running the meetings at some of the tracks where the dogs race and train. It has been revealed that there have been several examples of cruelty to other #Animals in terms of the use of live bait, with rabbits, possums and even piglets believed to have been used in a barbaric manner.

The animal-welfare group called 'Animals Australia' have utilised their army of undercover investigators to gather footage across the country's various training tracks, from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

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Their extensive surveillance has compiled a wealth of seemingly incriminating evidence, assembled from hundreds of hours of observation. As a result, twenty-four trainers, owners and track operators have already been suspended from their greyhound racing-related activities, with the threat of criminal charges hanging over them in addition. The leading animal-welfare group in the nation has also alleged that a further fifty people may be implicated, including some high-profile trainers, based on their findings.

Animals Australia uses it major campaigns to target the most prolific offenders of animal cruelty. It is a non-profit organisation at the forefront of animal protection in Australia.

Footage has been broadcast of such as rabbits being strapped on to mechanical lures and fired into the air around the tracks, then being mauled to death afterwards, to illustrate the cruelty that has been observed by the group.

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All three states' governments have promised to take strong action as a result of the evidence that has been uncovered on the footage, to ensure that the self-regulating industry stops such "abhorrent" practices in future. That message was endorsed by the chief executive of Greyhound Racing NSW, Brent Hogan, who stated that there was "no place whatsoever for animal cruelty of any kind in our sport."

Greyhound Australasia's CEO Scott Parker has countered the allegations, saying that the industry rejected live baiting and that the 30,000 people involved in the sport, who have adhered to the rules, have had their reputations stained unfairly by the actions of a small minority. He does not concur with the belief that such behaviour is systemic in the industry, as some have been suggesting in the aftermath of the findings.