Qantas will no longer carry racing greyhounds on flights to Asia

Greyhounds sent to Macau are kept in poor conditions, says Animals Australia. Photo: ABC 7:30Exported greyhounds receive a “death sentence”: ABC 7:30 report

Qantas will no longer carry racing greyhounds on flights to Asia in what animal activists say is a “win for gentle dogs facing certain death”.

The move follows revelations that greyhounds were being exported to Hong Kong and Macau. As many as 800 dogs were being kept in prison-like cells in Macau to replace those that had been culled and incinerated.

It means Australia’s two major carriers to Asia, Qantas and Cathay Pacific, will no longer carry racing greyhounds as freight.

The change of heart followed coverage last week by the ABC of an investigation by Animals Australia into the export of dogs to Hong Kong and Macau.

Australians have been exporting dogs to countries like Macau and China, an investigation by the ABC’s 7.30 program revealed.

The practice is not illegal but, without the required passports, it is against rules set out by Greyhounds Australasia.

Animals Australia said as many as 30 dogs a month – dogs that were too slow to race on Australian tracks – were being condemned to a death sentence, and being held in conditions that were “a blatant breach of the industry’s own rules”.

Animals Australia said the “game-changing decision” by Qantas was “a win for the gentle dogs exported to certain death each year” and for its “passionate and relentless supporters and caring community members who have been leaving no stone unturned to be a voice for these animals”.

In its expose, the organisation claimed more than 800 dogs were kept in squalid conditions in cages, dozens were destroyed every month, and one dog died on the track every day, animal rights advocates estimated, according to the report.

“For those dogs it’s actually a straight-out death sentence,” Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White said.

“The conditions are awful, it’s prison-like, barren cells, and in fact it really is like being exported to another country and put on death row,” she told 7.30.

Athough Qantas has not issued a formal announcement, it telegraphed the change in policy on social media on Friday night.

“We share your concerns about the disturbing story that appeared on the 7.30 Report earlier in the week,” Qantas said in response to inquiries about its policies, including by Animals Australia.

In a response, the carrier acknowledged that it had transported a small number of racing greyhounds to Asia.

“However in light of the story we have made the decision to no longer provide racing greyhound freight services to Asia.”

On Friday night, an animal activist on Twitter known as @Nez_animallover posted an image of dead greyhounds dumped in a mass grave and asked Qantas if it was true it was going to ban exports of racing greyhounds.

Qantas responded nearly immediately.  @Nez_animallover In light of the recent ‘7.30 Report’ story, we’ve decided to no longer provide racing greyhound freight services to Asia.— Qantas (@Qantas) December 11, 2015

The response on social media was overwhelmingly positive.

“Qantas thank you so much for refusing to export our wonderful greyhounds to a fate worse than death! Well done for taking the right stand, the only stand, to protect these dogs. Qantas – you are the BEST!” said one supporter on Facebook.

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