Tracking technology to protect greyhounds will go ahead in Victoria after unanimous support

<span>Photograph: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

Technology to track greyhounds – monitoring puppy births, stopping greyhounds from going “missing” from records, saving them from illegal exportation and recording euthanasias – is set to go ahead in Victoria with the backing of the government and the racing industry regulator.

Georgie Purcell, an Animal Justice party MP, told the parliament on Wednesday about dogs “routinely going missing and being illegally exported and killed”. In a motion, she called for a “digital system to improve greyhound traceability through an automated whole-of-life tracking system”.

“To this day, in Victoria greyhounds are not afforded the same protections as every other breed of domestic dog,” Purcell said, accusing the industry of failing to crack down on animal welfare issues.

Related: Victorian MP to call for compulsory digital system to track illegally exported greyhounds

She said it was left to not-for-profit organisations and volunteers to track down dogs that went “missing” from official databases, including some illegally exported to China for racing and breeding.

Purcell told parliament the number of dogs reported as rehomed was inflated “when in fact, they are killed in pounds, buried in shallow graves, starving, living in their own excrement hoping to be rescued or in concrete cells breeding hundreds and hundreds more greyhounds offshore”.

She accused trainers of giving away greyhounds and contributing to the rehoming crisis just to “make way for more and more puppies”. One trainer, she said, offered staff from her office 25 “discarded greyhounds” after they picked up two.

Her motion received unanimous support.

A government spokesperson said they would support changes to the current tracking system to monitor every greyhound in Victoria in real time to “improve existing systems and safeguard the welfare of greyhounds at every stage of their life.”

“Animal welfare continues to be a high priority for our government – that’s why we have invested more than $6.5m to boost integrity and improve animal welfare for racing greyhounds before, during and after their racing careers,” the spokesperson said.

The regulator, Greyhound Racing Victoria, said in a statement it already did whole-of-life tracking as well as a microchip registry, but that it welcomed the move to “better monitor the location and welfare of all Victorian registered greyhounds”.

“We welcome this opportunity to update and enhance our existing systems,” the statement said, adding that it had already adopted reforms to put greyhound welfare and integrity at the “heart of the industry”, leading to increases in rehoming and reductions in racing injuries.

“Our comprehensive greyhound welfare strategy covers all aspects of greyhound care and welfare. The strategy includes a series of regulations, policies and programs such as breeding controls, injury prevention, rehoming and adoption, and regulatory oversight to ensure greyhound welfare standards are being met,” the statement said.

Purcell was scathing about the “self-regulated industry that has steadily decreased in both popularity and participation over the years”.

“I believe one day we will look back in disbelief that we allowed this industry that exploits such vulnerable, gentle animals to ever exist,” she said.