Greyhound racing banned in NSW

Issue 

NSW Premier Mike Baird has announced a ban on greyhound racing, after the state government considered an 800-page report tabled by a Special Commission into "widespread cruelty" in the industry.

The Special Commission, which was sparked by ABC's Four Corners investigation into the industry, was presented to racing minister Troy Grant last month.

The report found that between 48,000 and 68,000 greyhounds — almost half of all greyhounds bred to race — were killed in the past 12 years because they were deemed uncompetitive.

Baird said: "This is not an easy decision. It is certainly one that is not taken lightly but when confronted with [the] report it is the right thing to do."

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Comments

Actually the Report did not find that 48000-68000 greyhounds had been killed over a 12 year period. Those figures were estimated based on not knowing what happened to those dogs (3 of them are sleeping in my house, for example). They quote a breeder who talks about drowning puppies, but don't mention the quote is from a 10 year old Canadian report on US greyhound racing (áccording to an article in the Daily Telegraph). The report's evidence, or at least the way it makes is case, seems to me to be based on anecdote rather than science.

But yes the greyhound industry needs dramatic reform. The major problem is that the participants have been let down by the industry regulator (overseen by a government appointee), whose job it is to protect the integrity of the sport and take action against those people treating their dogs badly and giving the sport a bad name.

I responded to an inquiry into the sport 3 years ago and argued for drastically reducing the numbers of greyhounds bred. No one involved took any notice of that proposal at the time. Controlling numbers bred could be done easily, by auctioning a set number of breeding permits with the money raised going to fund the greyhound rehoming organisations.

To announce a shut down in 12 months, when greyhounds have a 12-year life span is bloody minded. Greyhound training is both the daily exercise and social life of most trainers, many are older men and women living in rural areas. To take away their hobby and their means of supporting their dogs without adequate warning will have greater negative consequences (on the people and their dogs) than phasing out the sport gradually, especially if the regulators can be made to regulate the sport effectively and weed out the bad elements in the meantime.

It seems to me that the Baird government has been stampeded into this response based on genuine ignorance - as is becoming apparent with many gaping holes in the evidence being revealed, even in the tabloid press.

Tom F (former greyhound trainer and proud owner of 3 retired racers)

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