Do greyhound bosses read the newspapers?

Knight Sprite

Yet again, the failure of greyhound authorities to present the industry's case has opened the way to naysayers and racing opponents to belittle the code, using error-laden quotes from small splinter groups who vehemently oppose any greyhound racing – and say so on their websites.

This time, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald last Tuesday, known offender has again trotted out his poorly researched and highly inaccurate quotes rubbishing greyhound racing.

Worse, no evidence is available that greyhound authorities attempted to gain equal mention in the newspaper in order to correct the mistakes. This column wrote to the Editor but obviously lacked the power to get equal treatment. That letter is shown in part at the bottom of this article.

In contrast, formal authorities would be well placed to insist on a rebuttal but apparently did not bother. Certainly, nothing has been printed in the subsequent days.

Disgraceful though FitzSimons efforts are, the gap highlights the weak-kneed approach by bureaucratic authorities – particularly and – to show leadership and a proactive bent to boost the code's influence in the public arena.

Indeed, a correct version of all FitzSimons's points should be a permanent reference point on all greyhound sites.

Consequently, greyhound racing loses again.

Note: I am not a supporter of GA or the original GA confidential memo – far from it – but it has to be said that it did not say that 48,000 or more dogs had been killed over 12 years. It was misquoted. But it did come up with the equally ridiculous proposal that all states should reduce activity by one third, which would be tantamount to killing off the entire industry. That dream was based on the equally incorrect assumption that excess was the problem. In reality, greyhound had been on a gradual decline for two decades.


Not for the first time, we are asked to read an appallingly biased and grossly inaccurate diatribe on greyhound racing from a known anti-racing and anti-gambling campaigner in Peter FitzSimons. His supporting quotes are cherry-picked from claims by equally biased but tiny groups.

Certainly, the greyhound industry has had its problems. It has not been perfect but has made huge changes in recent years on order to achieve social acceptance.

Fitzy quotes stories that over 12 years “between 48,891 and 68,448 dogs were killed” as unsuitable for racing. Wrong. Those figures originated in a confidential memo to state CEOs from Greyhounds Australasia and were then passed on to the McHugh Commission by a stand-in chief in NSW (seconded briefly from the state racing department). Neither checked the figures or explained the background. Neither did then-Premier Baird, who was later criticised by the Auditor General – to say nothing of the voting public.

In fact, those dogs represented names which could not be located in the files Most were reclining on owners' or friends' couches or had died from natural causes, illness or incidents such as snakebites. Better record keeping is now in place.

The “Million Dollar Chase” was not funded by the taxpayers but 50/50 by a bookmaker and the unclaimed dividends fund from the TAB – ie by punters.

The recommended “puppy ” has never been implemented – no doubt because it would have been a charge for no service, which is a practice outside the brief of governments or their departments, and possibly illegal.

As the world's premier canine athletes, greyhounds are subject to injuries, whether in the paddock or at the racetrack. However, the vast majority of these are soft tissue injuries which attract quick, professional treatment, unlike most in the average home or in their thousands at council pounds or sites. Comparable injuries affect cricketers, footballers or tennis players every week of the year (Ash Barty at the moment).

Getting away with doping is virtually impossible as all winners are swabbed. Even so, many “positives” these days are due to strange about cobalt or which appear in everyday foodstuff in minute quantities and which have no known effect on performance. In another case, a factory put a small amount of tea (which contains ) in its recipe for kibble. But modern labs picked out this miniscule amount in a dog's meal, thereby disqualifying it. Such is the world around us.

I can only commend to Fitzy this quote on an anonymous poster I once saw:

“Man runs to beat time
Horses are urged to run
Greyhounds are born to run”

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Lucas Fenton
Lucas Fenton
1 year ago

Hopefully, you will pay me the courtesy of equal treatment. It is not only Greyhounds Australasia who admitted to the unnecessary killing of thousands of young, healthy greyhounds. Greyhounds Racing NSW had this to say in 2018, two years after political pressure saw the racing ban overturned: “GRNSW acknowledges that measures to safeguard greyhound welfare and promote responsible breeding and ownership practices in the past have been inadequate. The unlawful euthanasia of underperforming and unwanted greyhounds has unfortunately been a scourge on the industry for decades.” Greyhounds are not athletes, they are dogs forced to run by owners and trainers… Read more »

John Tracey
John Tracey
1 year ago

Bruce’s article is fair comment. The data presented against greyhound racing in NSW all came from much the same source. The Commissioner of the Special Inquiry into greyhound racing put a heavy weight on the GA national data in preference to data from GRNSW which he gave little weight. it is fair comment to say that the auditor generals report (that is in the public domain) showed that little weight should have been put on both groups of data or more accurately their lack of data or understanding of statistics. My guess is that the commissioner who originally was a… Read more »

Stephen Bettington
Stephen Bettington
1 year ago

Well said

Stephen Bettington
Stephen Bettington
1 year ago

Lucas Fentons comments are as absurd as Fitzsimmons typical bias and agenda driven. There is hardly any deliberate ‘doping’ at all (drugging a dog to gain advantage). If that occurs it needs to be dealt with to the full extent of the rules AND the law. The article he uses explains the detected drug was in the meat. 99% of the positive drug detections are contamination such as this or misguided policies such as cobalt which was a problem as fo doping in horses but in dogs comes through vitamin supplements . This is just typical of an ante and… Read more »