Evidence demonstrates that most greyhounds are kept under inadequate conditions that fail to meet their physiological, behavioural and social needs. Additional welfare problems such as the routine use of inhumane anti-barking muzzles and the widespread use of painful surgical artificial insemination methods on female breeding greyhounds have also been identified.
Greyhounds, like all dogs, are social animals. The recognised critical socialisation period is 3-18 weeks which is when greyhound puppies should be safely exposed to as many new sensations as possible. Of the 60% of whelped puppies that enter a race kennel, a significant number have spent most of their time in a paddock with very limited contact with people. This lack of socialisation leads to fear, anxiety, phobias and anti-social behaviour.
Once greyhounds reach the racing kennel there is very little opportunity for mental stimulation, play or quality of life. Many greyhounds are kept in cramped, barren, single-dog kennels with no opportunity to socialise with people or other dogs. For example, the draft NSW Greyhound Welfare Code of Practice specifies that a greyhound can be kept in a kennel that is 1.2 x 1.8 metres and exercised for only 30 minutes a day.
Animal welfare groups see this as unacceptable and in contravention of one of the Five Freedoms as defined by the RSPCA: “Freedom to express normal behaviour: by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.”