AUSTRALIA’S largest greyhound breeder and owner, Paul Wheeler, has expressed shock after the NSW Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Troy Grant announced the industry is going to be banned within the state.
The decision to shut down greyhound racing comes after a Special Commission of Inquiry found there was overwhelming evidence of systematic cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting.
Wheeler, who owns up to 700 dogs and breeds about 300 pups a year, said it was cruel for the majority of participants to be punished due to the actions of a few.
“Everything has just come to a standstill, like everyone I am still in shock,” Wheeler told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“There are thousands of people who have got millions invested in the industry in equipment, greyhounds, properties and mortgages and all those people have been driven to the wall.
“Most people were confident throughout the whole process that the industry would keep going, but I have always said it was going to be a 50-50 decision.
“It is very disappointing that a very small percentage of people have done the wrong thing, yet the government are punishing everyone.”
Wheeler said it was going to effect not just those invested in the greyhound industry, but all codes of racing and wagering.
“There are going to be a lot of people out of work within the greyhound industry, but it is going to span much wider than that,” he said.
“If greyhounds contribute to 20-25% of the tab turnover than that is going to affect all those mum and dad investors out there because the TAB will lose money and the share value will go down.”
While Wheeler rarely races his greyhounds in NSW, his multi million dollar breeding establishment is located near Young in the South West Slopes region of the state.
Wheeler said the decision has effectively put an end to breeding in NSW, with the possibility that other states could make the same move in the future.
“It is possible that there could be a flow on effect to other states, but it is hard to know what the future holds.
“Until we know more it is hard to comment any further, but one thing is for sure – we are in for some very interesting times.”