How to save the 650 greyhounds of the Macau Canidrome – The international campaign ‘Save the Macau Greyhounds’.
1) Why the international campaign to close the Canidrome.
The Canidrome is the only licensed dog racing track in China since 1963.
It’s a place of suffering and death: between 16,000 and 18,000 dogs have been killed there over the last 50 years. No dog gets out of there alive.
It’s the racetrack with the highest mortality rate in the world: there is on average one death per day, and an accident rate of over 20% of the active population.
There is no adoption programme and only a single greyhound named Brooklyn, photographed by GREY2K USA Worldwide in 2011, is apparently kept alive in order to avoid public indignation.
At the moment there are around 650 greyhounds: 120 belonging to the Canidrome and 520 in private ownership. There are also 45 puppies.
Between last year and this year, 8 dogs came alive out of this hell. Five ones adopted locally and three ones, Garlic, Magic and Honour rescued thanks to the collaboration between IACM (Institute for Civic and Municipal Affairs) and Anima Macau.
2) The living conditions of the greyhounds
Every greyhound entering the Canidrome has a life expectancy of no more than three years, but many die before that, and while alive their lives are a misery.
The greyhounds are kept shut up in 9 square cement buildings covering two floors, and each side has ten cells for ten dogs. The dogs on the ground floor live in perpetual darkness, because no light gets in there.
The spaces are very narrow, dirty and damp, they are not aired and often overheat. The stench of urine is very strong, and can be smelled even from outside in the street.
The dogs live and race in temperatures of 36°C and with humidity rates of even over 90%, with minimal physical exercise and virtually no social interaction.
The surface of the track is hard and made of a kind of lined cement without sand, the bends are tight and the barriers are made of metal.
The greyhounds often fracture their legs and necks: some die on the spot, others only survive for a couple of months after their arrival.
Many of the dogs also suffer from arthritis, dermatitis, and eye and ear infections.
Often the dogs are raced with open wounds, limping and covered in bandages.
They are all exploited to the utmost, to the point of collapse: the dogs compete in up to 18 races a day, for 261 days a year.
Doping is widely practised.
The Canidrome is literally ‘death row’ for greyhounds.
3) Where the greyhounds come from.
Until the end of 2015 all the greyhounds came from Australia.
Since 2016 the Canidrome has tried to acquire dogs from Ireland and the UK.
On the 16th March 2016 three Irish greyhounds arrived in Hong Kong, destined for Macau.
On the 15th April 2016, six more arrived in containers.
All nine Irish dogs are owned by Way Lok Chu.
Four of them (Ballinulty Star, Crossfield Marie, Bellmore Belle, Crossfield Simon) are currently alive at the Canidrome.
Five of them presumed already dead between July and October 2017: High Maintenance, Two Stone Tadgh, Crossfield Leona, Ballinulty Show, Milled Ash.
4) Who is Anima Macau, and what are the campaigns ‘Close the Canidrome’ and ‘No Welfare? No Export of Greyhounds!’ about?
ANIMA Macau is the animal protection group founded by Albano Martins in 2003 with the aim of rescuing animals in need in Macau.
His ethical and political fight to close the Canidrome and save the greyhounds began in March 2012, following a report by GREY2K USA Worldwide and an article in Hong Kong’s China Morning Post.
Thus began the international ‘Close the Canidrome‘ campaign, launched and led on a worldwide basis by ANIMA Macau and GREY2K USA Worldwide.
Closely related and parallel to this campaign is the fight against the exportation of greyhounds from Australia and since 2016 from Ireland and the UK too. Also from 2016, the slogans and hashtags of this campaign became: ‘Stop Greyhound Exports from China‘ and ‘No Welfare? No Export of Greyhounds!‘
Both campaigns were immediately supported and carried forward by Animals Australia, Animals Asia and the AFA coalition – the latter supported from January 2014 by 131 international groups, including many Chinese ones (AFA-05-03-2014-CE).
In later years they were joined by Caged Nationwide, Greyt Exploitations, Birmingham Greyhound Protection in the Uk, Irish Council Against Blood Sports (ICABS), ARAN, Limerick Animal Welfare, Galway SPCA, Greyhound Awareness Cork in Ireland, Pet levrieri in Italy.
The petition to close the Canidrome, launched in July 2015 by Albano Martins and Grey2K USA Worldwide, gathered 367,094 signatures.
In December 2015 Animals Australia published a shocking video report called ‘Stop Greyhound Export Cruelty!‘ which clearly showed all the ruthless cruelty of the exportation of Australian greyhounds to South East Asia (Macau, Shanghai and Vietnam).
Since December 2015, when the two main Australian airlines (Qantas and Cathay Pacific) refused to continue transporting dogs to Macau from Australia.
The petition to ban the exportation of Irish greyhounds to Macau, launched in 2016 by Grey2K USA Worldwide, gathered 350,784 signatures.
In May 2016 Caged NW, with the help of British and Irish activists, blocked a transport of 24 Irish greyhounds destined for Macau.
On 2nd June 2016 ARAN organised the international demonstration in Dublin against the exportation of greyhounds to Macau and calling for the closure of the Canidrome. More than 400 people attended the demo. Grey2K USA Worldwide and Anima handed the petition to the Irish minister Michael Creed.
The international ‘Close the Canidrome’ campaign, which was extremely difficult and delicate, lasted four years and won in the end!
The long awaited decision was finally obtained from Government of Macau:
the Canidrome, as a place of live racing,
will definitively cease to exist by 21st July 2018.
5) What is the current international campaign ‘Save the Macau Greyhounds’ about?
The ‘Save the Macau Greyhounds‘ campaign is the new international campaign, led by ANIMA Macau, GREY2K USA Worldwide and Pet Levrieri.
Now it is vital to help ANIMA Macau reach the other two objectives:
- To get the government of Macau to hand over the 650 greyhounds at the Canidrome into the care of ANIMA Macau.
- To find suitable homes for each of the 650 greyhounds.
If the Government doesn’t hand over the greyhounds to Anima Macau, they will gradually die due to the living conditions or following accidents on the track, and the survivors will be sold to Vietnam, where commercial dog racing is legal and is growing, and to China, India and Pakistan, where illegal tracks are spreading. Some of them may even end up in the dog meat trade.
6) How can we HELP?
In four ways:
– By signing and sharing this petition appealing to the government of Macau to hand the greyhounds over to ANIMA Macau:
– By supporting all the initiatives of the campaign as they are published in the Facebook page and the fb group:
– By making a donation, however small, and share our appeal: https://www.gofundme.com/helptheMacauGreyhounds
– By using the cover and avatar of the ‘Save the Macau Greyhounds‘ campaign on Facebook, Twitter and on websites.