Bob Thomas—Getty Images
February 17, 2015 1:30 AM EST

Animal lovers are in uproar after a television report in Australia showed racing greyhounds trained using live animals as bait.

Secret footage aired on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Four Corners program Monday showed live piglets, possums and rabbits being fixed to a mechanical lure and flung around the track, as dogs chased and ultimately killed the animals. One possum was used as bait for almost an entire hour.

Governing body Greyhounds Australasia has begun an urgent review of animal welfare and has suspended more than 20 trainers, owners and trial-track operators in the past week.

“I am appalled at some of the footage shown on the Four Corners program. The use of live animals to train greyhounds is disgusting, illegal, unethical and totally rejected by the industry,” Scott Parker, CEO of Greyhounds Australasia, said in a statement.

If found guilty of using live bait, the accused will face heavy fines and up to five years in jail.

Live baiting is outlawed but some trainers continue with the practice, believing it improves the performance of dogs.

Caution: The below clip contains graphic images that some viewers may find distressing.

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Write to Helen Regan at helen.regan@timeasia.com.

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