Albano Martins: ‘The closing of the Canidrome, the story of a fight! May common sense and the humanitarian spirit prevail!
Here is the English translation of the article ‘O encerramento do Canidromo, a história de uma luta!’ by Albano Martins, president of Anima Macau and leader of the successful ‘CloseTheCanidrome’ campaign and now the ‘SaveMacauGreyhounds’ campaign’.
The article, published in the Jornal Tribuna de Macau on 30th June 2017, tells the story of Anima’s battle to close the Macau Canidrome and the successful Close the Canidrome campaign which led to its victory, and outlines the objectives for the new worldwide campaign to save the greyhounds still at the track: ‘Save Macau Greyhounds‘.
The closing of the Canidrome, the story of a fight!When about six years ago I was confronted with the situation of the greyhounds at the Canidrome and we decided that Anima should try and solve the problem, for the good of the animals and the image of this land, many people, and many friends, told me that it was a lost battle.
At the time, about 30 greyhounds were slaughtered each month, and the same amount were bought in Australia to replace them.
Approximately 30 Australian greyhounds were imported monthly, sold at public auctions, at prices that were sometimes 18 times the normal cost, and the Canidrome slaughtered in the same proportion those considered non-competitive.
That is, in two years the whole population of dogs (720) was theoretically renewed.
None of them were left alive!
A lot of people thought it was normal to have so many healthy animals killed just because they were no longer competitive!
As if it were normal to run a business that lasted from 1963 (more precisely 54 years) at the expense of the suffering of dogs that sometimes ran twice in the same night and sometimes three consecutive nights, as Ricardo Pinto refers to in his Research published in the newspaper “Ponto Final” of October 12th, 2016.Pecados que vêm de longe http://macaucloser.com/en/magazine/dog-racing-sins-past As we learned from the work of Ricardo Pinto, the first Canidrome began its activities in Macau in 1932, by the hand of the American businessman Mr. Gerrard, established in Shanghai, who then passed on the business to local entrepreneurs. The business was interrupted in 1938 by the Sino-Japanese war, to be reopened 25 years later in 1963. In 2018, eighty-six years after greyhound racing started in Macau, the Canidrome concession will end.
In 2011, in December, after a report from SCMP, and a meeting in Macau with GREY2K USA, Anima learned about the real situation of the dogs at the Canidrome.
Anima tried to solve the situation in the best way, trying to give to the inactive animals an opportunity to get out of the Canidrome without being euthanized.Anima asked for an adoption program, assuming part of this responsibility.
However, after two meetings in 2012, under the umbrella of DICJ (Gaming Division of contracts and Inspection), the Canidrome stated it preferred another partner and minimized Anima’s capacity.
No adoption program was seriously considered.
The Canidrome made this decision in the most arrogant way, it did not talk, it did not respond and its executive manager assumed the attitude of ‘I Want, I Can and I Command!’
This attitude didn’t give Anima many options, mainly because the Government showed no signs of intervention.Anima’s strategy then changed: we decided we would fight for the closure of the Canidrome. At the end of 2012 Anima’s campaign began to intensify.
It became more visible after its participation in the AFA (Asia for Animals) Conference in Singapore in January 2014, where a letter to the Chief Executive was suggested by Anima asking for the closure of the Canidrome. That letter signed by AFA representing ten international organizations, including Anima, was supported by 131 more organizations around the world, many of them from China itself.AFA-05-03-2014-CE
In July 2015, following the launch of a petition that gathered more than 370,000 supporters (probably the most successful in the world), Anima organized an international roundtable in Macau, bringing together 10 international animal protection organizations, from Europe, Australia, China, USA, HK (China) and Taiwan!https://www.change.org/p/chief-executive-chui-sai-on-stop-hundreds-of-greyhounds-from-being-raced-to-death
That same year, in September, Anima organized a ‘Macau Greyhound Vigil’, supported by more than 24 cities around the world, mainly in Europe and the United States.
At that time (it was the last year of the concession), the Macau Government reacted by saying that it would extend the Canidrome’s concession for another year to study the matter, stating that it was not fair to close that compound in just one day (?)!In October, Anima participated in a meeting in Miami to gain awareness of the situation of greyhounds at international level.
At the end of 2015, after a video produced by Animals Australia, which had participated in the Anima roundtable in Macau, New South Wales took drastic measures against racing in Australia.In the year 2015, the Canidrome thus ceased to receive as many animals as in the past and at the end of the year no more greyhounds came to Macau from Australia! In 2016, the company decided to purchase greyhounds from Ireland, the largest producer of these animals in Europe.
That same year, Anima with the support of English and Irish animal protection organizations blocked in UK the export of 24 greyhounds from Ireland.
As it was necessary to ensure the cutting off of the supply of dogs from Ireland, Anima took part with other Irish and English organizations and GREY2K USA Wordwide in a public demonstration in Ireland, and was afterwards received by the Parliament and the Office of the Minister of Agriculture. The aim was to block the export of animals to Macau, the only way to dry out the industry in Macau.
In the same month, Anima participated with GREY2K USA Wordwide in Frankfurt in a meeting with Lufthansa to persuade the carrier not to send these animals to Hong Kong, which were then destined for Macau.
In the same year of 2016, the Government announced that it would give the Canidrome two options, to either change its location (and failing that to pay more attention to animal welfare), or to close by July 2018!In September, following an invitation from Pet Levrieri, Anima participated in Milan as a guest speaker at the international conference ‘Freedom for Greyhounds’.
The following month, in USA, Florida, Anima also participated as a speaker at the conference ‘Greyhounds around the World’, announcing the closure of the Canidrome by July 2018 and its strategy to save all the dogs.That strategy depends totally on the decision of the Government and the Canidrome.
As part of this strategy, Pet Levrieri launched an International Petition addressed to the Chief Executive to request that all the greyhounds be handed over to Anima, pointing out the potential damage to the image of Macau as an International Centre of Tourism if the greyhounds were sent to China, Vietnam or other countries where there are no animal welfare laws to protect them. https://www.change.org/p/chief-executive-and-secretary-for-the-economic-and-finance-affairs-lionel-leong-vai-tac-save-macau-s-image-save-greyhounds
Meanwhile, while the government decides what to do, Anima is preparing to gradually move the inactive greyhounds, preferably to European countries.
Negotiations with air carriers and shipping companies are underway to reduce the transportation costs of these animals to a minimum by avoiding Hong Kong intermediaries!
At this moment, without much effort, Anima currently has more than 250 adopters!
A new international campaign is underway, signed by Anima, GREY2K USA Worldwide and Pet Levrieri, which will feature hundreds of animal protection organizations from around the world.
This letter asks these organizations to absorb the contingent of about 650 greyhounds still at the Canidrome.
Another international campaign is also under way: to convince celebrities from around the world to send a letter to the Chief Executive of Macau requesting his intervention at the Canidrome, so that Anima can stay with the dogs and is authorised to manage the space for a year, while a new plan for the area is being prepared.
Macau is in a win-win situation, if we provide an easy way out for it to get rid of this huge stone it has in its shoe!
May common sense and the humanitarian spirit prevail!Albano Martins 2017_06_30_JTM_ALBANO_CANIDROMO(2)
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