THE world’s greatest predator has invented the combustible engine, the computer, flown to the moon, and even produced all of the world’s great literature.
But, as we know or we ought to know, the natural instinct to inflict pain and predate on the weak is hard wired into the human species.
This fundamental human trait has been used by society leaders throughout human history from Caesar right through to Trump who both employed fear and propaganda to tap into this basic human instinct for their own selfish purposes.
It is important that all human and society relationships are examined in this context. The need for human beings to pigeon hole groups within society is intimately connected to this underlying competitive drive to ostracise the weak and bolster their own social position.
Enlightened individuals who buck this trend and claim to live and let live have lived among us and indeed many have been genuine in their attempts to live an intelligent and a non-predatory existence. Many more, however, release their predatory instincts disguised as something fulsome and good. The churches have been expert at doing this for centuries and all religions have an evangelical ideology that promotes their superior “truth” over the darkness of infidels.
The racing industries in general and greyhound racing in particular have been subject to criticism and propaganda in recent decades. The notion of profiting from the lives of animals is regarded by a small minority of our society as abhorrent and not socially acceptable. This vocal minority have campaigned hard against all forms of animal exploitation and the hardliners among them regard traditional pet ownership as pet slavery and are opposed to any use of animals for the production of food.
In our industry through the wrongdoing of a small number of people and a cleverly edited story narrative we have gifted them a propaganda coup. The Four Corners program has delivered the moral high ground to this evangelical group who now seem to have the ear of politicians and administrators who find it convenient to be converts to their cause. In reality, I believe these fanatic minorities who live at the extremes of society are simply indulging their predatory instincts by attacking the weak.
As someone who grew up in a sectarian divided society that was Northern Ireland, I appreciate the egalitarian and multicultural society of Australia. It is a unique place in the world largely untainted by entrenched stratifications of society that have taken millennia to develop in other populated countries. Sectarian divisions are the normal prerequisite for sectarian prosecution. I respect the right of people to hold a different view to mine and I enjoy the cultural melding of our mainstream society. However I object to a small group of idealists moralising and intimidating a law abiding group within society who simply do not share their beliefs.
The sport of greyhound racing is a salubrious sport for both the owners and their dogs. The greyhounds enjoy immensely their lifestyle while they are racing and unlike many other pets they achieve high standards of welfare which not only includes food and shelter and freedom from fear but also the ability to pursue their natural instincts which is to chase albeit after a fluffy toy. It also allows the human species to enjoy that other great natural instinct, the one for risk taking, giving people all over the country the chance to wager on the qualities of another imperfect animal rather than battling with the perfect success of an inanimate poker machine.
I find it curious that a society that consumes tens of millions of chickens, hundreds of thousands of sheep, pigs and cattle every year can be aroused into such a hypocritical frenzy by a group of fanatics and a sympathetic media over the so called wastage of animals within the racing industry.
A greyhound or a horse has no concept of retirement planning. Their forward projections go little further than their next dinner. Animal welfare is exclusively related to the care of animals when they are alive. The issue of whether we euthanise animals is a social not welfare question. It is certainly not evidence of cruelty as has been suggested by the Premier of New South Wales.
The level of animal consumption through all our social stratifications strongly suggests that the view of a small number of unrepresentative fanatics is totally unrepresentative of the mainstream of Australian society. I believe the Australian public is mature enough to realise that this industry has over a couple of decades been striving to increase the numbers of greyhounds that progress to a retirement at the end of a racing career.
All the racing industries need to be open and honest with them to explain that there are not enough retirement homes to go around and some animals bred specifically for the race track are not suited to a more relaxed lifestyle. I am strongly opposed to adopting the UK approach which effectively outlaws euthanasia of retired greyhounds resulting in many living out their days in retirement “prisons”.