Why greyhound racing has been banned in NSW

Why greyhound racing has been banned in NSW

Thursday, July 7, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
'Systemic animal cruelty' in the NSW greyhound industry has caused the Government to ban the sport

A ‘devastated’ Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) has temporarily suspended greyhound racing after the NSW Government sensationally announced plans to ban the sport in the Australian State.

A statement from GRNSW said: “The greyhound racing industry is devastated by today’s decision by the NSW Government to shut down the sport in NSW. Around our state there are many thousands of responsible participants who treat their greyhounds like family who are involved in the greyhound racing industry either through training, racing or supporting the sport.

“These people were as dismayed as others by the exposure of completely unacceptable and inhumane practices within greyhound racing. That is why they supported the significant reforms made by GRNSW over the last 12 months.”

The NSW Government has taken this extreme step after a Special Commission of Inquiry found ‘overwhelming evidence’ of systemic animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting.

Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Troy Grant said that the NSW Government is acting to protect animal welfare as a priority, and is planning for an orderly industry shutdown as of 1 July 2017.

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

Inquiry Commissioner Michael McHugh has recommended Parliament considers whether the industry had lost its “social licence” to operate and should be shut down. If the industry continued, his alterative recommendation is extensive reform including tighter regulation, but Mr McHugh stated there was a “very real risk” that practices such as live baiting, where live animals are tied to the mechanical lure that sits around the racetrack, would continue.

The transition plan will set a path for the winding down of the industry as of 1 July 2017, and will include:

• A welfare plan for existing greyhounds, including opportunities for re-homing;

• An adjustment package for industry participants; and

• A transition arrangement for existing Greyhound Racing NSW assets that will ensure they are used for open public space, alternative sporting facilities or other community use.

The decision has understandably rocked the greyhound fraternity in NSW, with GRNSW going as far as publicising depression and suicide hotlines on its website.

The response from some of the gambling firms that offer betting on the sport was somewhat cooler. A statement from Tabcorp read: “NSW greyhound racing represents around 5% of Tabcorp’s total wagering turnover. However, Tabcorp expects a significant level of substitution will occur to other wagering product, such as thoroughbred racing, harness racing, sport and animated racing.

“Tabcorp’s media business, Sky Racing, will work with other Australian and international racing industry bodies to source alternative racing product.”

Totally Gaming Says: “Banning the sport is an extreme way to prevent cruelty when stronger regulation is still an option, suggesting that the move has a political upside. What the NSW Government has to do now to ensure greyhounds are protected is develop a robust welfare plan, as it has just removed the biggest reason for greyhound ownership in the state.”

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