Hunter Valley family face uncertain future after shutdown

HUNTER Valley trainer/breeder Chris Kedwell has labelled the state government’s decision to ban the greyhound racing industry as “gutless” following the announcement the sport would be phased out in NSW by July 1, 2017.

Kedwell says the industry was not given the chance to shape up, with the rushed decision set to cost over 13,000 people their livelihoods.

“Like everyone else it has hit us hard because we have a lot of money invested in the industry,” Kedwell told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“With the 99 year intercode agreement everyone had faith that the industry would still be here in 99 years time, so – there are a lot of people with a lot of money invested into the sport.

“It came out of the blue and we are still a bit shocked.

“With the steps Greyhound Racing NSW had taken and the reform that has been going on within the industry it was thought it would lead to greener pastures.

“You would think that the government would take that into consideration, but obviously they haven’t.

“I think it was a gutless and spineless move by Baird. He took the easy option.”

Kedwell, who purchased his 27 acres property just a couple of years ago with dreams of one day turning it into a full-time business, says it will be hard to regain his financial investment, leaving the father of two substantially out of pocket.

“We are on a 27 acre property and at least 15 acres of that is taken up with dog runs, kennels and training facilities which is pretty much useless for anything else.

“There are kilometres of fencing which would have to be pulled down before you could use it for anything else, not to mention the brick kennels – the property is virtually worthless.

And Kedwell said the future remains uncertain for the dogs on his property, with up to 70 greyhounds now in need of a home.

“We have 30-40 of our own dogs here and we have 30 for other people who are either rearing or spelling.

“It is going to be a hard one for the government to manage because there are a lot of people with more dogs than us who will also have to figure out what to do with them once the industry closes.

“Luckily I work full-time which will subsidise it a little bit, but it won’t be enough to keep the farm going and we will have to look at other options.

“It is a real kick in the guts, they haven’t taken us into consideration at all.”

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