Foley fears NSW greyhound ban could drive the sport underground

NEW South Wales Opposition leader Luke Foley has voiced concerns the closure of the state’s greyhound racing industry could drive the sport underground.

The Baird government announced plans last Thursday to permanently ban greyhound racing within NSW, with the legislation set to go before parliament at the next meeting of the assembly on August 2.

“One of my concerns is that greyhound racing once illegal would continue at private tracks underground, unregulated,” Foley told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“There is no way that the welfare of animals could be monitored by the state or any independent body in those circumstances.

“I don’t see how that is good for animal welfare and I can’t see how the likely mass slaughter of thousands and thousands of greyhounds next year if the ban comes into effect is in the interests of animal welfare.”

Foley slammed Premier Mike Baird for announcing the ban, which followed on from the Special Commission of Inquiry report tabled by Justice Michael McHugh, without proper consultation.

The report contained damning figures regarding the sport’s ‘wastage’ numbers over the past 12 years, concluding that between 48,891 and 68,448 greyhounds have been killed in NSW alone.

The report also estimated between 10-20 per cent of greyhound trainers engaged in the practice of live-baiting and that the morbid activity was still happening despite the industry’s attempt at reform following the ABC’s ‘Making A Killing’ exposé.

“This was announced by the Premier’s social media guru on Facebook without an iota of consultation with the people involved in greyhound racing,” Foley said.

“The Premier was chasing Facebook likes but he treated with contempt thousands of people whose livelihoods are derived from greyhound racing.

“I do have a lot of respect for Justice Michael McHugh…I think he has rendered the state good service through his work here.

“McHugh’s first recommendation was that the Parliament should debate the future of the industry, but that was just ignored while the Premier and his Deputy Premier simply announced the ban on social media.

“For me I look to his 79 (other) recommendations on how the industry could continue…that’s the basis of what I’ll be putting to the Parliament next month as an alternative to the Baird/Grant plan to declare the industry illegal.”

Foley is urging Nationals MPs to cross the floor and join with the Labor Party on August 2 to ensure thousands of jobs and lives are not destroyed.

“What I resent most of all here is the sneering contempt the North Shore Liberals and inner-city Greens have for the people involved in the sport…they look down on them,” he said.

“We need the Nationals to break ranks with the Liberals, we will need National Party MPs to stand up for their communities.

“Lets remember that the clear majority of the state’s 34 greyhound racing clubs are in country NSW – I am appealing to the National Party to break ranks with the Liberals just this once and work with Labor to provide this industry with a future, subject to high animal welfare standards.”

Foley believes that the industry has an overwhelming amount of support, refuting claims that the sport has lost its ‘social licence’.

“There is anger directed at the rogues in the industry who have done the wrong thing and have put the industry’s future on the line,” he said.

“However, from my discussions in recent days, there is a great deal of support right across the state in local communities for the sport of greyhound racing and for the good people involved in it.”

While conceding the industry needs to continue to improve its animal welfare practices, Foley said the Labor Party is dedicated to working with the people involved in greyhound racing.

“Greyhound racing has operated here legally since 1927 and it has a proud history, but I also want it to be a part of the state’s future as a modern greyhound industry with strict standards when it comes to the welfare of greyhounds,” he said.

“I will be fighting in the parliament to rescue the industry and to put it on a proper footing subject to very high standards of animal welfare, but to ensure it is continued.

“I hold an affection for the many good people in the industry and I see their relationship with their dogs is their greatest passion in life – I just want my parliamentary colleagues to understand that.

“These people are animal lovers, they shouldn’t be written off as cruel or exploitative people when there are thousands of good people in the industry.

“I believe this is an elitist decision that treats, with contempt, all of those men and women who love their greyhounds, for whom their relationship with their dogs is their greatest passion in life.”

Past Discussion

  1. I am 72 years of age and I was taught in school that it was the governments job to manage the economy.  This is the first time I have ever seen the liberal government take a backward step on the economy. I am just one of all voters in this country that knows only too well why Mike Baird held back releasing this report until after the federal election. After a lifetime I will never vote liberal again.

    I do not believe for one minute that the lobbyists that brought all this to a head care one Iota about animal welfare. They and their ilk have destroyed Gunns Timber industry in Tasmania, have brought Mac-Donalds food chain to their knees, they have brought the Cattle industry to its knees, the Coal industry is under threat and the list goes on.

    My point is they are destroying the economy or is democracy itself the target.

    These activists are very well paid. I would like to know who or what country finances them and why?  They are not Australian.  Mike Baird has had the wool pulled over his eyes. Never had a bet on the Melbourne Cup Mr Baird? Imagine Australia without it.

  2. “One of my concerns is that greyhound racing once illegal would continue at private tracks underground, unregulated,” Foley told Australian Racing Greyhound.

    This is one of the most hilariously stupid arguments possible. You could just about use it to say that we should legalise bear baiting or dog fighting. Is anyone actually convinced by this drivel?

  3. iajanus The truth hurts sometimes. Its not about animal welfare.

    You have not answered my question ‘who pays you’?  It is so obviously political.

  4. This scaremongering about an “underground” greyhound racing industry is absurd, as only a moment’s thought will confirm. None of the many jurisdictions in which greyhound racing has been abolished has ever seen the emergence of an undergound racing industry. You can’t hide greyhound breeding, training, and racing activities where such activities have been declared illegal. Moreover, the oxygen that commercial greyhound racing needs to breathe is publicity, transparency, parimutuel wagering, TAB gambling, and accessibility of past racing performances. Not to mention government subsidies and the collusion of the veterinary profession. Without those things the racing industry cannot survive.