I AM not going to try to pretend the ABC’s Four Corners report didn’t disturb me, as I felt physically ill during the entire program. I now fear for the future of the sport, it’s participants and more importantly the thousands of greyhounds, in particular those suspended, as an enormous cloud of uncertainty hangs over their heads.
I’ve received dozens of messages from those inside the sport who are looking for any possible hint as to the future hold and where the sport is heading, along with daily comments from the general public on the issue of live baiting and the impact it will have on greyhound racing.
The sad reality we must all face is greyhound racing will never be the same.
I agree animal welfare must be the number one priority for all industry bodies and the initiatives that have been implemented thus far are reassuring that many greyhounds have a home for life after racing. I personally have been a platinum supporter of the NSW Greyhound Adoption Program for many years along with monthly donations I make to several other welfare organisations. I have chosen to keep my donations to these organisations anonymous, as most of them oppose greyhound racing and, as I’ve experienced in the past, don’t accept my donations. Despite their despise of my involvement with greyhound racing, I feel as an animal lover I am obligated to provide them with funding to assist with the rescue and rehoming of suffering animals. Many people will not agree with me on this, however if I can contribute to saving one animal’s life, I feel I’ve done my duty as a human being.
My greatest concern at present, is those people who have told me of their experiences with animal activists and the general public and the abuse they have been subjected to over the past few weeks. As a greyhound writer and owner, I’ve become accustomed to vicious abuse on a daily basis, however I will not tolerate young, innocent people being branded as ‘evil’ and having vile threats being made against themselves and their families. Unfortunately, I’m only in a position to offer my comfort and support to them, as they cope with the distress and impact the events of the last month had on their lives and their association with greyhound racing.
NSW will play host to its biggest carnival on the racing calendar this week with the commencement of the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg heats, with the eventual winner to be awarded $250,000 in prizemoney. I was personally relieved to see that greyhounds that were suspended have been allowed to participate in the series and I thoroughly wish their connections all the best of luck. I know some of them personally and I know the past few weeks has been rock bottom for some of them, but they will still continue to be good.
To anyone who doubts their involvement in greyhound racing, which I’ll remorsefully state I have over the past few weeks, this is an opportunity for us to show why our sport is great and just how much we love and care for our greyhounds. Remember the passion, joy and excitement you experience when you win a race, the look on your greyhound’s face when you reward them with an ice cream or cheeseburger and the feeling of seeing your greyhounds name atop of the results list as the winner. These are the reasons why we get up at 5am, seven days a week and religiously look after our greyhounds, in some instances better than ourselves, and it’s the reason we will move forward and become stronger as a community and why we will never be beaten.
I urge anyone who has been subjected to abuse and aren’t coping physically and emotionally to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, who are available 24/7 to assist anyone in need.