Australia's greyhound racing industry was in damage control yesterday after graphic footage showed live piglets, rabbits and possums used as bait to train some of the country's most successful dogs. An investigation by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation showed the animals being fixed to mechanical lures before being chased and torn apart during training sessions. A lure is traditionally an artificial hare or rabbit. The animal welfare group RSPCA, in conjunction with police in the states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, raided five properties last week after the ABC handed over its evidence ahead of the programme broadcast on Monday. Australia has one of the largest greyhound racing industries in the world and live baiting has been banned and criminalised for decades. RSPCA Australia chief executive Heather Neil said the practice appeared to be an entrenched culture where animal cruelty was seen by some as an accepted cost of the sport. "If it is this widespread in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, it would be naive to think it isn't happening elsewhere," she said in a statement. Activist organisation Animals Australia, which helped gather the footage, claimed some of the animals that survived their first maulings had been "reused" multiple times. "Cut-throat trainers looking for a 'winning' edge take advantage ... by 'taunting' dogs with tethered live animals, and tying animals - literally kicking and screaming - to fast-moving lures," it said. Greyhounds Australasia chief executive Scott Parker said 23 people, among them some prominent names within the sport, had been suspended. He ordered an urgent independent review of all systems relating to animal welfare and integrity. "I am appalled at some of the footage shown on the Four Corners programme," he said, while insisting that only a small minority of the sport's 30,000 participants were involved.