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Animal groups seek to ban greyhound exports to Macau

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Chinese animal welfare groups have urged the Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard to ban the export of greyhounds for Macau racetracks. They accuse the Canidrome of destroying healthy dogs after they are found unable to compete, South China Morning Post reported yesterday.
Local animal welfare association Society for the Protection of Animals (ANIMA) is aware of the culling, but admitted there is little to halt the process without an official law on animal welfare protection.
The alliance of animal welfare groups from across China said in the petition to Gillard that healthy dogs are being destroyed in Macau at a rate of more than one a day. The greyhounds are imported to Macau at the age of two or three years old.
At the Canidrome they race four times a week. If they finish outside the top three in five races in a row, though still no more than five years old, they are allegedly given lethal injections.
According to Hong Kong’s daily investigation, last year, 383 dogs imported from Australia were culled at the Canidrome. In March alone 45 greyhounds were given the lethal injection.
Not only do track rules disallow the dogs to be taken on as pets, but it is also difficult to send them away to other countries because of anti-rabies quarantine restrictions. Macau lacks legislation on transmittable diseases, thus other country authorities don’t consider MSAR laboratories as qualified. As a result, animals have to undergo quarantine in Hong Kong in order to travel out of Macau.
The director of ANIMA, Albano Martins, told the Macau Daily Times that preliminary discussions on this situation have been held between the association and the Civil and Municipal Affairs Bureau’s (IACM) animal shelter.
“The government-run animal shelter is concerned over the culling of healthy dogs after they are not able to race anymore. We are trying to find a way to send them to other countries to be adopted as pets, but that’s not an easy task, without a law on animal protection,” he said.
Macau SAR’s first animal rights protection bill was draft in 2008, but is still on hold. In the meantime, several provisions from legislations dating from the 19th-century are regulating animal welfare in Macau.
Martins said that currently Macau is also trying to cope with the plight of abandoned animals, and it would be very difficult to keep the greyhounds in the SAR. Nevertheless, he suggested Macau make contact with other animal welfare groups in China to try to allow these race dogs a chance to have a second life.

A.L

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