Go back – wrong way

THE anti-racing crowd are doing themselves more harm than good.

Amidst all the noise we hear today about greyhound racing a point to remember is that self-described tree-huggers and Greens generally are very much in the minority. Numbers range between 1% and 10% of the population. That is true whether it’s dogs, horses or in parliament. That does not mean they are wrong, although often they are.

What it does mean is that they can shout from the rooftops but they will not get very far, for two main reasons.

First, they don’t have to bother much about the real world because they will never be in a position of power, They may exert a little influence here and there but normally they will be unable to put their words into practice. The majority of people will say that’s just as well. Such is democracy.

Second, rarely do they offer genuine or usable counter suggestions about how to run that world. A classic example would be their preference for seemingly unlimited numbers of asylum seekers – say 10,000, 50,000, 100,000 or more every year – regardless of the huge cost that would impose on the tax-paying community, the risks to national security or the difficulty of installing all the practical means of housing and employing them.

In the greyhound context, highlighting illegal acts is not their main target, although, amongst a few valid points, many of their followers still resort to lies, abusive language and gross exaggeration. The underlying problem is that they want to ban racing altogether, as regularly expounded by discredited NSW Greens MLC John Kaye and his tame PR person, Natalie O’Brien of the Sydney Morning Herald, and on numerous posters and banners around the country.

Comments from members of overseas organisations have an equally strong bias, particularly from the USA where conditions are vastly different to those in . The two cannot be compared.

Consequently, they will get a poor return for all the energy put into their tactics. They will not stop greyhound or horse racing. It is never going to happen. In fact, at the moment, volumes are higher than I have seen for the last couple of years.

What they should be concentrating on, as this column tries to do, is to make racing better and safer. Already they have had some success with the restrictions placed on the use of whips, something which much of the general population can understand. But claims that “greyhounds are forced to race” or “stop subsidies to racing” are not only ridiculous but guaranteed to reduce support from people in the street. It destroys the protesters’ credibility.

Frankly, they should be happy to note that the recent incidents have (quite correctly) raised a storm of protest and extreme reactions from governments – sackings and suspensions.

The trick now is to follow up whatever progress is being made – “keeping the bastards honest” – and to make sure that an industry which has had its head in the sand smartens up. Only 21st century standards will do.

The snowball has started rolling, so get behind it.

Finally, here’s a tip. Animal species which have done best are those where humans have placed a high value on their worth. Whale population growth has been a spectacular example. Greyhounds have survived and prospered for the same reason over hundreds or even thousands of years. All because they like chasing. It’s what they do.

On the other hand

It is a no-brainer that greyhound administrations have fallen down on the job by their failure to identify and correct widespread abuses of the system. The details will follow when all the investigative teams report back in coming months.

However, those shortcomings have been accompanied by a lack of sufficient attention to keeping the public informed and interested in the sport of greyhound racing. Nine times out of ten, all the public learns is what is bad about the industry, never the good bits. Unfortunately, the industry has a habit of preaching only to the converted, so that outcome is hardly surprising.

Unjustly, this has placed the greyhound breed itself in a defensive position. That’s obviously silly when the fault invariably lies with its masters, but it is a problem that has to be addressed. It is a simple matter to throw out the people doing the nasty things, but not so easy to present the positive case for the greyhound itself.

Industry or brand images do not happen by themselves. Rather they are created by the products’ owners. It was therefore interesting to read comments by a guru on social and demographic matters, Bernard Salt in The Australian (March 26).

“What endures is brand. However, I think there is a large and potentially expandable segment of the market that wants an ongoing relationship with brand. What business wants for its products — and what I suspect many consumers also want — is a meaningful and ongoing relationship.

Consumer choice can be swift and brutal. The deep connection and affection that some consumers feel for some brands is counterbalanced by indifference to others. The brands that endure best are those that are adaptable and that invest in an emotional connection with a loyal consumer base.”

That’s a clear message. Greyhound racing does not really have a “brand”. More likely it is seen just as a branch of the betting sector, to be treated as no more than a mobile poker machine.

Greyhound bosses must build that “emotional connection” or continue to suffer the consequences.

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Dezzey
Dezzey
6 years ago

The Greyhound has survived for thousands of years (yes I researched) because the rulers of the day cherished them, treated them like family and most importantly kept them out of the hands of the commoners.

What was, and should rightfully still be, the Sport of Kings is no longer. I know a lot of you see the beauty, grace and ancient hunting instinct behind those trusting eyes but alas a lot of owners don’t. The inevitable caveats placed around racing in the future might make it costlier to participate. That might not be such a bad thing.

John Tracey
John Tracey
6 years ago

Hi Bruce, What interest me is why in NSW we refer to baiting, the problem with greyhounds is obviously blooding. Here is a copy of the baiting rules, note it is only a 6 months maximum penalty whereas blooding carries two years. Under section 18 a person who released a cat inot the wild could be charged for baiting. Cut and Paste of Section of the Act.. PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACT 1979 – SECT 18 Animal baiting and fighting prohibited18 http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/poctaa1979360/s4.html#animal baiting and fighting prohibited(1) A person shall not:(a) use any place, or manage or control any place which is… Read more »

John Tracey
John Tracey
6 years ago

Dezzey Read further no commoner were allowed to have any dog. Slaves and serfs did not own property,

Robynne
Robynne
6 years ago

All of this is so true. Good work .

DaveSampson
DaveSampson
6 years ago

Ahh my comment was deleted. No opposition to Bruce allowed on here.

RaceMedia
6 years ago

DaveSampson Your comment was deleted because it was a 1000 word rant that quite figures and stats which to be kind would best be called imaginary, You’ve been given more than a fair go with your opinion in this site. If you wish to have your comments displayed then keep them succinct and keep them based in fact not thin air.

John Tracey
John Tracey
6 years ago

DaveSampson Hi Dave, Answering your previous post is a bit like answering the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?”. I support the points you make on the dog being suspended and then allowed to race and GRNSW being to unfocussed to realise their bad taste. Also I made the point that GRNSW is expecting people to follow rules when they cant get the rules right themselves by referring to baiting when the legislation state clearly blooding. Not very important, yes it is. A bigger scandal happened  at the ICAC inquiry in about 2000 when ICAC discovered that the whole regulatory committee were responsible for… Read more »

RaceMedia
6 years ago

DaveSampson RaceMedia You were warned

John Tracey
John Tracey
6 years ago

Dave, . The statistical records kept on greyhounds are more developed than figures and statistics kept for canines as a whole. The special panel with the former high count judge and previous SC assisting who dealt ,with animal welfare issues previously at ICAC , dealing with matters with the powers of a Royal commission will lift the performance of the control authority out of the pedestrian range. The research of your question and answers is helpful to me thanks. The whole domestic animal resume will benefit by the sunshine. I believe that matters need to be discussed but in appropriate… Read more »

John Tracey
John Tracey
5 years ago

DaveSampson Just looking at your activity statement I note the following quote “we can advise that an average of 14,057 dogs were racing across Australia for the 12 months ended March 31, 2015” – What is the source of this quote. Year to date figures are collected which show the total dogs racing during the year to date, it is not an average as such.  I need to compare the dogs racing on  a year to date over a period of years to understand trends. For example the year to date figure in 1992 was 25,100 (report to sales tax on… Read more »

Dezzey
Dezzey
6 years ago

The Greyhound has survived for thousands of years (yes I researched) because the rulers of the day cherished them, treated them like family and most importantly kept them out of the hands of the commoners.

What was, and should rightfully still be, the Sport of Kings is no longer. I know a lot of you see the beauty, grace and ancient hunting instinct behind those trusting eyes but alas a lot of owners don’t. The inevitable caveats placed around racing in the future might make it costlier to participate. That might not be such a bad thing.  

John Tracey
John Tracey
6 years ago

Hi Bruce, What interest me is why in NSW we refer to baiting, the problem with greyhounds is obviously blooding. Here is a copy of the baiting rules, note it is only a 6 months maximum penalty whereas blooding carries two years. Under section 18 a person who released a cat inot the wild could be charged for baiting. Cut and Paste of Section of the Act.. PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACT 1979 – SECT 18 Animal baiting and fighting prohibited 18 Animal baiting and fighting prohibited (1) A person shall not: (a) use any place, or manage or control any… Read more »

John Tracey
John Tracey
6 years ago

Dezzey Read further no commoner were allowed to have any dog. Slaves and serfs did not own property,

Robynne
Robynne
6 years ago

All of this is so true. Good work .

DaveSampson
DaveSampson
6 years ago

Betting volumes is a poor indicator to use as to the sustainability of greyhound racing. Greyhound racing without sponsors means it will be dead in the water. Its not as though people betting wouldn’t just move to something else. So in terms of government coffers, it means little difference whether Greyhound racing is here or not. Or do you seriously think all of that money spent on the greyhounds would suddenly go into their super funds instead? And sponsors are leaving the industry. Why be associated with a ‘sport’ that is tainted when there are so many other options to… Read more »

DaveSampson
DaveSampson
6 years ago

Ahh my comment was deleted. No opposition to Bruce allowed on here. Still GRNSW and GRV adopt the same policies on their social media pages. Luckily in the real world you can comment freely on the national newspapers without greyhound racing industry insiders trying to eliminate any opposition to give the illusion that everyone loves them.

RaceMedia
6 years ago

DaveSampson Your comment was deleted because it was a 1000 word rant that quoted figures and stats which would best be called imaginary, You’ve been given more than a fair go with your opinion in this site. If you wish to have your comments displayed then keep them succinct and keep them based in fact not thin air.

John Tracey
John Tracey
6 years ago

DaveSampson Hi Dave, Answering your previous post is a bit like answering the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?”. I support the points you make on the dog being suspended and then allowed to race and GRNSW being to unfocussed to realise their bad taste. Also I made the point that GRNSW is expecting people to follow rules when they cant get the rules right themselves by referring to baiting when the legislation state clearly blooding. Not very important, yes it is. A bigger scandal happened  at the ICAC inquiry in about 2000 when ICAC discovered that the whole regulatory committee were responsible for… Read more »

DaveSampson
DaveSampson
6 years ago

RaceMedia DaveSampson Figures and stats which would best be called imaginary? really? Could you give me an example? Remember its only me thats going to be embarrassed if you publish them since you claim they are imaginary. Im trying  to think back on what I wrote and I cant think of anything I dont stand by. The only thing I could imagine you getting upset by is my claim of 10,000 dogs born each year in NSW and only 1000-2000 being adopted out or having a life after racing. Regarding the number of dogs born, here is an official government document… Read more »

RaceMedia
6 years ago

DaveSampson RaceMedia You were warned

DaveSampson
DaveSampson
6 years ago

RaceMedia DaveSampson I actually published parliamentary evidence. You deleted it, and yet allow your comment calling my figures imaginary to stand. Well I published a link to a parlimentary document which backed up my statistics, so if you are going to delete my post, I would appreciate you remove your post calling my statistics imaginary as I have proved they are not, and you are defaming me by claiming that they are while removing all evidence that proves you are wrong. And while you are at, just ban me and that way all the greyhound racing insiders can all post here… Read more »

John Tracey
John Tracey
6 years ago

Dave, . The statistical records kept on greyhounds are more developed than figures and statistics kept for canines as a whole. The special panel with the former high count judge and previous SC assisting who dealt ,with animal welfare issues previously at ICAC , dealing with matters with the powers of a Royal commission will lift the performance of the control authority out of the pedestrian range. The research of your question and answers is helpful to me thanks. The whole domestic animal resume will benefit by the sunshine. I believe that matters need to be discussed but in appropriate… Read more »

John Tracey
John Tracey
5 years ago

DaveSampson Just looking at your activity statement I note the following quote “we can advise that an average of 14,057 dogs were racing across Australia for the 12 months ended March 31, 2015″ – What is the source of this quote. Year to date figures are collected which show the total dogs racing during the year to date, it is not an average as such.  I need to compare the dogs racing on  a year to date over a period of years to understand trends. For example the year to date figure in 1992 was 25,100 (report to sales tax on… Read more »