Greyhound racing to be shut down in New South Wales

THE greyhound racing industry in Australia is reeling, after New South Wales premier Mike Baird announced the systematic shut down of the sport in the state.

A Special Commission of Inquiry made the recommendation after finding evidence of animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and the well publicised live baiting scandal.

Mr Baird and Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Troy Grant announced today the NSW Government had made the decision to shutdown the industry from July 1, 2017. It has also thrown huge doubt over the industry in the rest of Australia.

“As a humane and responsible Government, we are left with no acceptable course of action except to close this industry down,” Mr Baird said.

“This is the inevitable conclusion to be drawn from the appalling revelations in Mr McHugh’s report and his considered view that any other measures are unlikely to protect animals from further cruelty.”

In a detailed report released today, it said between 48,000 and 68,000 greyhounds, at least half of all greyhound bred to race, were killed in the past 12 years because they failed to chase, or were uncompetitive.

It goes on to say: “up to 20 per cent of trainers engage in living” and 180 greyhounds a year are euthanized because of injuries sustained in races.

Inquiry Commissioner Michael McHugh told Parliament to consider whether the sport had lost its “social licence” to operate. He also said there was a “very real risk” untoward practices would continue.

Mr Baird said the Government will announce a detailed industry shutdown plan during the second half of 2016 following consultation with stakeholders in industry and animal welfare organisations.

The shock announcement must now put serious doubt on the sport in other states, although no announcements have been made from any other governing bodies.

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.
  • Mr Grant said he asked Mr McHugh to leave no stone unturned and thanked him for delivering a comprehensive report.

    “NSW is the first Australian state to ban greyhound racing but, as Mr McHugh notes, we are following in the footsteps of so many jurisdictions across the United States and the world which have banned greyhound racing to protect animal welfare,” he said.

    An administrator will be appointed for Greyhound Racing NSW in the coming months, while the government will also consult and prepare legislation for Parliament to wind down the industry.

    “Over the coming months, we will consult with the industry to help minimise the pain as best we can for the innocent industry participants as we work towards an orderly industry shutdown,” Mr Baird wrote on Facebook.

    “We will develop a strategy to work with the RSPCA to manage the welfare of existing greyhounds. And the transition arrangement for Greyhound Racing NSW assets (like greyhound racing tracks) will ensure they are used for open public space, alternative sports facilities or other community use.

    “I feel much empathy for innocent trainers and those who will lose their job or hobby as a result of this. And I understand the disappointment of people who enjoy having a punt on the dogs. But we simply cannot and will not stand-by and allow the widespread and systemic mistreatment of animals.”

    Past Discussion

    1. I’ve kept an eye on the developing scandal around greyhound racing since the live baiting practices were exposed on four corners.  I never thought a ban would actually result, because I thought that no government would be brave enough to take away someone’s livelihood on moral grounds.  I’m pleasantly surprised that this decision has been made.  Scratch that, I’m stoked, absolutely over the moon.  We can’t let economics be a defense to any practice no matter how immoral.  And for once a government is prepared to put morality before profit when it comes to animal exploitation.

      Watching the reaction of people on this website, both readers and writers, and supporters of the industry on social media and in mainstream media, since the live baiting scandal first broke, all I can say is that you have done this to yourselves.  The general attitude has been one showing very little contrition, very little understanding of public outrage, and a general contempt that anyone would presume to tell you that it’s not ok to be cruel to animals.  On top of that you have weird quasi-religious arguments from the likes of Bruce Teague who think that the huge wastage of animals within the industry is justified by “preservation of the breed”, a completely abstract concept devoid of any inherent value, and of value only to those with an obsession for dog breeding.  An obsession for the man made modification of animals for aesthetic or functional purposes.  What’s even more bizarre is that he would try to suggest that “preservation of the breed” is in the dog’s interest, despite the fact that dogs neither care what breed they are, and are happy to mate with any other dog breed.  There’s a strange delusional mind at work there.  There is also a strange delusion at work from those that claim “breeders and trainers treat their dogs like royalty!”, a selective vision that can somehow ignore the dogs that are sacrificed along the way, and seem incapable of understanding that loving an animal only insofar as it can earn you money is not really love.

      You could have cleaned up your industry, these atrocities that have been brought to light were common knowledge.  You didn’t, and now it’s being shut down, assuming of course that this doesn’t somehow get overturned.  I hope that other states follow suit as many other countries already have.

      Find a new hobby, find a new job, get a life.  Start treating animals with empathy and respect, instead of like property who’s soul purpose is to fulfill your wishes and line your pockets.

    2. impact Hugh_ Haha, oh that doesn’t fit with the narrative you were trying to create so you’ll just accuse me of lying?  It’s easy to do that on the internet isn’t it, just attack the person, who you know nothing about, when you don’t have any genuine counter arguments.

    3. No, it’s not good for everyone, it’s good for the dogs that would have suffered in the years to come, and it’s good for those that don’t like the exploitation of animals for racing (or any purpose). Is it good for those in the industry? No. But they were responsible for animal suffering, so I feel as sorry for them as I do for anyone that gets told they can’t keep profiting from the suffering of others. People have a choice about how they make a living. If you choose to make it from exploiting animals, and you accept or turn a blind eye to wastage and live baiting, then you don’t get much sympathy from me. Your problem is all you can think about is money. You think if someone is making a living from something then that’s more important than any questions of morality. I don’t agree.

    4. I am elated that Minister Baird finally recognized what many of us have known for years and that is the exploitation of living creatures for profit leads only to heartless cruelty, needless suffering and death for those animals trapped in this barbaric gulag. 

      Iam a Board member of Grey2KUSA Worldwide, an organization that fights to savethese marvelous creatures all over the globe (you can lean more about us here: http://www.grey2kusa.org/index.php) I have fostered and adoptedrescued racing greyhounds since 1995. I cannot imagine abandoning any of themwhen they become injured, old or sick and yet this is routinely what happens tothem at operating tracks. Imagine the danger they face when the track closes.They need a guardian angel more than ever at times like this and I hope Minister Baird realizes that his continued protection of these soon to be homeless dogs is even more important than his decision to liberate them.


      Fred Barton

      Board Member

      Greey2K USA Worldwide