An online petition demanding the NSW Government reconsider a ban on greyhound racing has gathered close to 7000 signatures in a few hours.
The shell-shocked industry is in disbelief after NSW Premier Mike Baird and Racing Minister Troy Grant announced the industry would be shut down on July 1, next year.
Soon after the ACT followed suit, but this was hardly a surprise given they only have one track and much of the governance comes from New South Wales. The decision blindsided most in the community and is based off a Special Inquiry of Inquiry’s findings launched after live baiting was found to be rife in the industry.
Despite many positive changes surrounding animal welfare being made by Greyhound Racing New South Wales over the last year, Baird delivered his verdict on the industry to parliament with a minimum of consultation with colleagues, drawing the ire of the opposition leader Luke Foley.
“I think Mr Baird’s jumped the gun,” Foley told Fairfax Media. “Michael McHugh has put forward 80 recommendations to improve the industry and his first recommendation was that parliament should discuss whether the industry ought to be shut down.
“The Premier has pre-empted that parliamentary discussion by announcing the industry will just be shut down.”
Greyhound identities from the embattled state have come out in defence of their sport, with many urging fellow participants and racing fans in general to get behind the Change.org petition.
“I have been around the industry my whole life,” Jessica Britton, a breeder from NSW, wrote.
“I now own a breeding and rearing facility. How am I going to make the mortgage repayments on my property if I can no longer operate my business.
“What will happen to mine and my family’s livelihood? I have no problem with severe punishments for those doing the wrong thing but don’t tarnish us all with the same brush.”
Other racing fans are worried thoroughbreds will be targeted by anti-gambling and animal welfare groups next.
“I love this sport and the bond I have with my dogs,” Christina Wintrell, an industry participant, wrote.
“It can be a beautiful thing as like any thing there are a few bad apples but its not fair to the rest to suffer for consequences of others and if you stop greyhound racing then its a step towards the end of horse racing.”
The owner of this website and long time greyhound racing participant, horse owner and businessman Kevin Pitstock said the racing codes need to present a united front or they would fall on their sword.
“Make no mistake, this is not an attack on greyhound racing alone,” he said.
“This a concerted organised attack from a vocal minority who aim to end all racing.
“If greyhound racing falls, harness and horse racing will be next. All racing codes need to get behind the push to overturn this decision.”
Australian Racing Greyhound has received plenty of mail from people celebrating the decision.
“Ha. Good luck suckers. We shut you down and the horses are next,” one wrote on social media.
You can show your support for the greyhound industry, which includes over 15,000 participants, at Change.org