Four men, including Australia’s largest greyhound breeder, have been charged for illegally exporting greyhounds to race in Macau.
Paul Wheeler, who owns and operates a large breeding complex on a property at Boorowa, 100km north-west of the Australian capital of Canberra, was charged last week for exporting nine greyhounds without possessing a Greyhound Passport from Greyhounds Australasia. The organization stopped issuing passports for export to Macau in 2013 due to animal welfare concerns surrounding the treatment of dogs that race at Macau’s Canidrome.
Wheeler was also charged with conduct detrimental or prejudicial to the interests and welfare of Australia’s greyhound racing industry, as were three other men – Danny Li, Wei Shan and Yiwen Xi.
Their actions were uncovered as part of an inquiry into illegal greyhound exportations that began on 2016, with all four men failing to respond to requests from the inquiry to provide relevant documents relating to the exports. They will face court in April.
The owner of Macau’s controversial Canidrome, SJM Holdings Executive Director Angela Leong, announced recently that the facility will close on 21 July 2018 following a 2016 order by the Macau SAR Government to either shut down on relocate.
There has been no word yet on the fate of the 600 greyhounds that race at the Canidrome.
In 2016, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau cited a study which showed gross gaming revenue from greyhound racing had declined 13.8% year-on-year in 2015 from MOP$145 million to MOP$125 million. It also acknowledged changing “social expectations” in regards to how animals are treated, stating in its 2016 ultimatum that Yat Yuen must improve its animal welfare standards if it did choose to relocate. It has been reported that around 400 dogs are killed in Macau each year for being too slow.