THE joint greyhound representative voice in New South Wales greyhound racing has vowed to fight the ban on greyhound racing in the state.
The Greyhound Breeders Owners and Trainers Association said they were “shattered and heartbroken” by the announcement from NSW Premier Mike Baird, which will effectively end the sport from July 1 next year.
With close to 100 people employed by Greyhound Racing NSW and over 10,000 more employed in the industry, the full ramifications are still being felt. As of 8pm on Thursday night over 2000 people had signed an online petition demanding the decision be reviewed.
The defining moment in the saga came when 4Corners released shocking footage of live baiting and various acts of animal cruelty last year. Since this time major reform has happened in the sport and GBOTA is devastated the journey looks to be over.
After the 4Corners expose, a Special Commission of Inquiry was set up. The results of this were released on Thursday morning as well as Premier Mike Baird announcing that the industry would be shut down in the state.
The results of the inquiry included 80 recommendations, the first of which was to propose that parliament consider whether the NSW greyhound industry has lost its social licence and should no longer be permitted to operate in NSW.
The remaining 79 recommendations were to apply in the event that the parliament agreed that the industry should be allowed to continue on its reform journey. These recommendations were a further enhancement of the positive changes that have been made since February 2015.
They involved separation of regulatory and commercial functions, stronger powers to external regulators for to act upon breaches to the Prevention of Cruelty Act, the appointment of an independent greyhound Racing Integrity Commissioner and cutting edge animal welfare standards.
“The NSW GBOTA made three submissions to the Special Commission and we are satisfied the majority of our suggestions were supported by the Commissioner,” said Association Executive Officer Brenton Scott.
“Whilst nobody could condone any of the animal cruelty revelations exposed by Four Corners in early 2015, it is impossible to suggest that the NSW Greyhound industry has not committed itself to reform in the period since.
“The State Government has and has a responsibility to recognise this.
“Our industry deserves to be given an opportunity to continue our reform journey, supported by regulatory and animal welfare framework that ensured our industry meets best practice ethical and sustainability standards.
“The NSW GBOTA has vowed to continue to fight the current intention of the Government,” Mr Scott added.
“It is simply an unfair and unreasonable decision.
“Our industry involves 15,000 participant and employs thousands more.
“The vast majority of participants, past and present, are decent people who have and will continue to put their greyhounds first.
“This is an ill considered decision and we will be working with industry stakeholders and all members of parliament to have it revisited,” Mr Scott said.