ANIMAL welfare groups are hoping that findings from the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into greyhound racing will be the beginning of the end for the industry.
The inquiry was launched in 2015 following the controversial live-baiting scandal which was exposed by the ABC’s Four Corners program.
Working with Animals Australia and Animals Liberation Queensland, the ABC captured greyhound trainers in NSW, Queensland and Victoria ‘blooding’ their greyhounds using live animals.
Amidst the controversy, NSW Racing Minister Troy Grant told the former CEO of Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) Brent Hogan, as well as the entire board, to step down or be sacked.
Following Hogan’s resignation, Paul Newson took over as the interim CEO of the industry and has endeavoured to make big changes to ensure the future of the sport.
“Animals Australia and the Four Corners program ‘Making a Killing’, it exposed serious failings in greyhound racing,” Newson said.
“It exposed serious failings in the governments, the oversight and the commitment to animal welfare standards.
“Greyhound racing failed to safeguard the greyhound, it’s as simple as that.
“We have made significant inroads. Much has changed, but we have much work to do.”
Meanwhile, Animals Australia’s executive director, Glenys Oogjes, says she is hopeful that the report, which follows a lengthy investigation including hundreds of hours of video and tens of thousands of documents, will send a clear message to the State Government that the industry should be shut down.
“The greyhound racing industry should not, and cannot be supported,” Oogjes said.
“It really has such inherent cruelties, and terrible ethical issues involved with it that I really don’t think it can continue.”
With the final report from the inquiry due to be handed down to the state government on Thursday (June 16), it is still unclear when, or if, the public will get the chance to view the report.
Newson says he hopes that the public will be given the opportunity to see the report.
“We, and greyhound racing, need to be transparent. We need to be more accountable,” he said.
“We need to effectively discharge our regulatory obligations.
“One of the mechanisms to achieve that is to publish this report. The industry is certainly bracing itself for some fairly serious and confronting findings and recommendations.
“It will assist our efforts to recover our social licence if those confronting findings, those confronting recommendations, are made public.”
The need for the report to be made public is one thing Animals Australia agrees on.
“This has been a very extensive and long inquiry. It has been very detailed,” Oogjes said.
“We’ve been pleased that the commissioner and staff have taken a lot of the information and sought information.
“And so, it really does need to be an open inquiry continuing on. And we must see the full report as soon as possible.”