Mainstream media types are too lazy to check the greyhound facts

YOU would think anyone who has penned a series of books on historical events would have a pretty good handle on sifting fact from fiction. You would expect them to at least do a little bit of due diligence and, in particular, adopt the motto of the Royal Society: ‘nullius in verba’ (Latin), which translates into English basically as, ‘take nobody’s word for it.’

If ever there was a document produced by a group of people who are generally regarded to be ‘in authority’ which should be subjected to the rigours of ‘nullius in verba’ it is the McHugh Commission report.

Yet, we in greyhound racing have watched as politicians of the political right, led by the Premier and the National Party leader, as well as some media outlets (notably the ABC) and newspapers have simply adopted the findings of the report and repeated them as incontrovertible fact.

Last weekend the Sydney Morning Herald commentator and writer Peter FitzSimons joined the line of those calling for Mike Baird to remain strong on his plans to ban greyhound racing in 2017 in the face of what many appear to believe is a ‘vocal minority’.

I would have expected a lot more from FitzSimons, but clearly doing a bit of decent homework is beyond him. Maybe his Knox Grammar education wasn’t quite as rigorous as it should have been; or perhaps he has forgotten what he was taught all those years ago. Of course, it may be because his despised rival in the media stakes, Alan Jones, has taken up the cudgels in support of greyhound racing, FitzSimons automatically decides he needs to go down the opposite path.

In his column for the SMH, FitzSimons wrote the following: ‘There are good people, no doubt about it, involved in the greyhound industry and while I feel for them, the compensation packages offered to them are generous. But who can doubt that, as a “sport”, greyhound racing has demonstrably been built on systemic cruelty – both to the thousands of dogs who are annually ruthlessly slaughtered if they prove too slow, and those smaller animals used as the infamous live bait?’.

Look at the intentionally emotive wording: ‘the thousands of dogs who are annually ruthlessly slaughtered if they prove too slow…’ First, while there is no denying that far too many greyhounds over the years have been put down for no good reason, because of the failure of greyhound administrations -accountable to the state government no less – to accurately collate data, no one really knows the precise (or close to precise) figures.

It is claimed many greyhounds which are classified as ‘deceased’ are in fact still well and truly alive.

Every year, as has been pointed out by many others, thousands of healthy dogs and cats are put down by the RSPCA. Their crime? No longer being loveable to their erstwhile pet owners. The animals are put down as humanely as possible, and so it is with the majority of greyhounds who are no longer wanted. I’m not saying this is right, but the vast majority are not ‘ruthlessly slaughtered’.

Second, FitzSimons runs with the party line of greyhounds being put down ‘if they prove too slow…’ In a recent article on this website I gathered together a random list of greyhounds which had raced at a collection of meetings and showed just how many of them were serial non-winners, and yet their owners and trainers kept on going with them.

Anyone can look at any race meeting, any day of the week, anywhere in Australia and you will find a host of starters who are, in the vernacular, ‘legless’. Yet they have not been ‘ruthlessly slaughtered’ because they are ‘too slow’. Why might that be Mr FitzSimons?

And you patronisingly parrot the words of the Premier when you say, ‘There are good people, no doubt about it, involved in the greyhound industry and while I feel for them, the compensation packages offered to them are generous.’ What? So, handing over a fistful of cash will assuage the acute sense of loss of those ‘good people’ will it? People who, when their ‘too slow’ greyhounds have finished their careers, give those dogs a place in the family home, in many cases. Money may well be your god Mr FitzSimons, I can assure you it is not the driving force for so many people involved in this sport.

Let me give you a researched example as proof. Attached to this article is a list of the 87 greyhounds which have raced at least once and were due to compete in the 11 races held at the Bathurst track on Monday September 26. I have not named any of them, all I have done is listed the race, the box number, the age of the greyhound (in months), the prize money each has won to date and then divided that by the age of the starter to get an average of earnings for the greyhound since it was whelped.

Obviously, most greyhounds don’t start racing until they’re about 18 months old, but up until that time they need to be fed every day, be checked by a vet, and broken-in to racing. All of this costs money, from day one.

Breaking down the figures for the Bathurst meeting, the average age of each starter is 32 months (two and a half years) and the average amount of prize money earned is $3,103.40, at an average of $96.98 per month since birth. Hardly a fortune by any measure, and certainly not enough to put a son or daughter through Knox Grammar.

So, yes, the compensation package might well be, in FitzSimons’ view ‘generous’, but I think the figures below show that money is not why people race greyhounds.

Past Discussion

  1. Another Block head from Knox,  certainly  their behaviour has been question at the child abuse royal commission, maybe he is effected  by what happen at school he certainly never learn’t much of anything  else but to how bow,  when required too?

  2. It is certainly not about the money to me ,it is about the comradeship and social interaction of the greyhound industry ,it may seem trivial to Baird and Grant that some people enjoy greyhound racing and they may see us as second class citizens but I can say with 100% that these people look out for each other we are mates whether you are only known by name in a field to each other we stand together and it has just been proved with this government announcing the ban of the greyhound industry just how resilient we are ,hopefully someone see’s this mess for what it is and overturns this stupidity and lies 

  3. I have already expressed my views about this man and his article previously- he also claimed in another section of this article that a particular politician was the first Muslim woman to be elected to the parliament she was not elected she was appointed taking  the place of another politician who had resigned. No by election was held. Given this pollie is very anti racing was this deliberate making her sound as though she had been elected rather than just getting votes from greens headquarters or did he not bother to do the proper research on this as well?  Even some of the people who normally like his views have commented on the comment page that they really don’t know where this view is coming from. Any rebuttals on his web pages are also fact less just one up- manship and suggestions his views are the majority or held by intelligent people. Not very impressive journalism.

  4. MarionPurnell Deborah555  thank you Marion this is actually a great site. ( it is good to know where the marginal seats are- their pollies work harder to secure votes)  Anne Aly is, I know , the first Muslim woman elected to the Federal Parliament but I was referring to Mehreen Faruqi who is the first Muslim woman appointed to the NSW parliament. The journalist was  quoting what Mehreen had said, he also claimed she was elected when she was actually appointed after the elected representative( a genuine dedicated environmentalist) resigned to seek a seat in the Senate.

    I have no real problem with people who have a different opinion than the one I hold when they argue from a point of reason and they are genuine and use facts to support their claim or acknowledge that what they are presenting is opinion eg. Hugh – whilst I will never agree with him in a million years I respect what he is because he respects people who think differently as well. Anyone claiming “all greyhound trainers are scumbag bogans” probably fits the description more accurately than the people he is accusing and doing nothing for his cause. I have acquired during this debate the friendship of some one who is a very vocal opponent of greyhound racing – what we both have in common is  a genuine love of greyhounds and neither of us want thousands of dogs put to death for some pollie to prove he is “right”.

    I believe that Mehreen is a shallow political opportunist looking for a second term and she will have to be elected this time. One term is not enough for that lifetime pension you need two terms. The person she replaced, who had views that I did not agree with, was I believe a genuine environmentalist with a life time of education and work experience to prove it. Mehreen’s  views on dog racing like her views on abortion reform in NSW show that she does not really understand the Australian culture quite as well as she thinks she does. As for Anne Aly I have done no research on her so I cannot comment one way or the other.

  5. Deborah555 MarionPurnell  PS Mehreen said how wrong it was to condemn all Muslims on the actions of a few and how hurtful this was and you will get no argument from me on that logic however Mehreen was happy to condemn every greyhound trainer on the actions of a few and only a few have been found guilty and some sent to prison for their actions -the rest are innocent until proven guilty, a concept I am very fond of, even if it protects rabid anti greyhound people as well.

  6. Deborah555 MarionPurnell If you are looking for revenge “dig two graves”

    The politician mentioned has an upper class or upper middle class background and is naive in the extreme entering a debate on the greyhound protest. 

    The special inquiry and the Minister and Parliament were not assisted by the naive assistance they received from their supporting public servants who were also wet between the ears on the matter and the actions that the large numbers of physical protesters against the greyhound legislation required the Government to demonise the greyhound population more was ill advised .

    Further I prefer the social licence assessments spelt out particularly in the 2016 especially lectures 3 and 4. (see prompt below) and this gives me growing confidence to accept a wealth of opinion in legal circles that the greyhounds have a strong case to argue at law.

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/boyerlectures/

  7. Deborah555 BJoe  PS he is actually quite fair minded I have read quite a few where he has corrected the hypocrisy or inaccuracies of people who want greyhound racing banned especially when their hypocrisy is  selective. just about greyhounds. he gave that silly senator Rhianon?  a really good comeback when she said greyhound racing was evil but killing cattle was fine. I don’t agree with him but at least he is not some bloody political opportunist condemning just one industry nor does he ever use some of the filthy screaming language of some of the so called animal lovers. Shame he is not on our side really.

  8. John Tracey Deborah555 MarionPurnell  Yes not just a different background socially but culturally as well. If I went to another country at the age this politician came here I don’t think I would ever truly understand the psyche of the people of that country especially if it was very different from my own nor would I have the arrogance to suggest that an activity people in Pakistan took part in for half of the country’s  existence should be banned and demonising them as well.  The views on the need for abortion reform show a total lack of understanding  and respect for how the process of abortion reform has worked here ( ending with a fine delicate balance where almost everyone is happy)  and she continues to ignore advice believing mainstream pollies are out to get her. Either totally naïve (which I doubt) perhaps arrogant  or political opportunist who needs to get elected next time to get that all important second term for the life time pension.

    Yes I think the court action, especially the Federal case, is a good idea for a number of reasons which I will not mention here just in case.

  9. great article Duncan and maybe some of the journos at the ABC and the SMH who are anti greyhound racing supporters realise that some of their  supporters are not the least bit interested in facts either. Facts are a bit hard to research screaming emotive words condemning others a piece of cake.

    Yes you have obviously spent a great deal of time researching as any good journalist should – that’s hard work and we appreciate it.