GREYHOUND racing participants in NSW are not going to take the proposed ban of their sport lying down, but industry insiders are worried they are not receiving a fair go, after legislation went before Parliament on Wednesday morning.
After a turbulent few weeks NSW Premier Mike Baird’s shock declaration that greyhound racing would be banned from July 1, 2017, finally reached Parliament with a heated debate taking place. Parliament is currently on a break but will resume at 2.30pm on Wednesday afternoon.
The Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill 2016 was put before the NSW Upper House, but it is still unclear as to when a final vote will take place, but Liberal party, with the backing of the Greens, remain confident they have enough numbers to push the legislation through.
But NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association CEO Brenton Scott said the industry would continue to fight the legislation on all front, including a Supreme Court challenge.
“This is an important issue – it needs to be dealt with in the appropriate, regular manner which involves proper Parliamentary debate and we are concerned that this is not going to be the case,” Scott said, “We continue to ask for a fair go for our industry.
“Our case is also now before the Courts and our argument shows that the McHugh Report is not credible and that this report formed the basis of the Premier’s decision, so it is important that this issue is not raced through Parliament without due consideration.”
Scott, who also heads the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance, the steering group tasked with fighting the ban, met with Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Premier Troy Grant on Tuesday morning and detailed four key guarantees the industry could make to ensure the sport rises to meet government and community expectations if it were allowed to continue.
The guarantees were:
– A total life cycle management plan for all greyhounds born into the industry, including every greyhound which is unable to race as well as retired dogs.
– A controlled breeding program which would immediately limit the amount of greyhounds being bred for racing within NSW to 2000 annually.
– A zero tolerance attitude towards animal cruelty which would result in life time bans for any participants found guilty of acts such as live baiting.
– Providing strict standards to ensure the safest racing environment as a means of eliminating avoidable injury.
Scott subsequently refuted comments made by Troy Grant at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon which slammed the NSW GBOTA for allegedly opposing a quota system when it was originally proposed by Greyhound Racing NSW’s Joint Working Group in early 2016.
“We were shocked to hear Troy Grant state yesterday that the GBOTA has previously not supported a proposed quota,” Scott said.
“This is absolutely incorrect and there is evidence in a submission to the Joint Working Group Draft Report Implementing Reform in the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry from earlier this year that makes it clear that GBOTA did in fact support a quota system.
“We supported the quota system then and we continue to support a quota system.
“We are committed to a plan that will ensure we are world leaders in regulation and animal welfare, that meets the expectations of the community and can still operate a viable and sustainable industry.”