GREYHOUND racing participants are urged to head to Dapto tonight to show their appreciation for the NSW Labor Party.
Opposition leader Luke Foley will be on track to meet with greyhound trainers and will be joined by deputy leader and Labor spokesman for gaming and racing, Michael Daley.
Also heading to the track will be Shellharbour MP, Anna Watson and Labor’s spokesman for the Illawarra and Member of Keira, Ryan Park.
“I want to show support for the good men and women in greyhound racing,” Foley told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“I have been visiting a number of tracks over the past few weeks and it will be my pleasure to meet with participants at the world-famous Dapto Dogs.
“Somebody in a position of influence has to stand up for the good people in this industry. I cannot stand by while the Premier of this state demonises good men and women who love their animals.”
The visit to the Illawara-based track comes as Foley and the Labor Party continue to show their sport for the industry following Premier Mike Baird’s announcement that it will be outlawed within the state as of July 1, 2017.
Additionally, Foley is expected to be presented with a petition signed by close to 30,000 people next Tuesday as part of the industry’s “Fair Go Rally”. Held at Hyde Park, the rally will be on the same day as the NSW parliament is set to discuss the legislation to potentially ban the sport.
Sonia Hornery, the state Labor MP for Wallsend, created the petition and is optimistic that it can prove to the NSW Government that the public want to give the industry another chance.
With Hornery’s electorate containing The Gardens, over 30 locals will lose their jobs if industry closes down, while several other local small businesses which rely on greyhound racing are also likely to suffer.
Hornery said the petition will enable the subject to be debated in parliament and hopes that other MPs will recognise the negative impacts of the industry’s closure.
“We spent a considerable amount of time in my office ensuring it was written in accordance with parliamentary process,” Hornery told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“I support the 80 recommendations by Justice Michael McHugh, but I do not support the closure of the industry which has been proposed by Mike Baird.
“I want to see the industry flourish.”
Kevin Gordon from the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance indicated on Wednesday that the number of signatures on the petition had topped 25,000, with the final number expected to be a figure much closer to 30,000.
While Hornery said she objects to any form of animal cruelty and wants to ensure it is prevented and any offenders criminalised, she believes there is a place for the greyhound industry to survive with greater welfare and integrity regulations in place – a sentiment shared by an apparent huge number of people within NSW.
“It’s a wonderful show of support for the greyhound racing industry to get around 30,000 people within the space of a few weeks, hand-signing a petition,” Hornery said.
“30,000 signatures would have a great impact, it lets the government know that people are serious about keeping the industry alive.
“It also shows that people are serious about making sure that any reforms within the industry which are needed.”
Hornery has urged all participants and people interested in the sport of greyhound racing to attend next Tuesday’s ‘Fair Go Rally’ and to contact their local MPs to let them know they do not support the ban.
“I would invite anybody in NSW who is interested in keeping the industry alive and reforming the industry to not only attend the rally next Tuesday, but to sign the petition and to continue to write to their local MPs.
“Also ask to meet with your MPs to discuss the issue to ensure every one of the 93 lower and upper house MPs are well aware of how the community feels.
“I would also encourage people to ring or write to Mark Pearson, the upper house Animal Justice Party representative, to let him know their feelings.
“It is getting down to the wire, so now more than ever is the time for people to speak up and be heard.”
For more information on the Fair Go Rally click here.