THE New South Wales greyhound racing industry is continuing its fight to overturn the ban on the sport by launching a legal challenge in the Federal Court on Tuesday.
The proceedings intend to challenge the validity of the legislation, which was passed through the NSW Parliament in August, on the basis that it breaches section 92 of the Commonwealth Constitution which guarantees freedom of interstate trade.
“The effect of the Greyhound Prohibition Act is to make unlawful in NSW an activity that is legal everywhere else in Australia,” said Brenton Scott, Chief Executive, NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers’ Association (GBOTA) and representative from the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance.
The legal challenge in the Federal Court is being launched in addition to the proceedings in the Supreme Court which are challenging the validity of the McHugh Report which was influential in Premier Mike Baird’s decision to enforce a ban.
“The difference is that these Federal Court proceedings challenge the Act itself, whereas our action in the Supreme Court challenges the McHugh Report which formed the basis for the Government’s decision,” said Scott.
“The ban will needlessly destroy the lives of so many decent, hard-working, law abiding people and there is an alternative. The Government and the industry can work together to ensure that the NSW greyhound industry operates viably and with world leading animal welfare standards in place.
“We will continue to fight the legislation through all the channels available to us.
“At the same time we are working to ensure that any transition plans are fair, address the financial needs of industry members who have invested in the sport and, most importantly, look after the dogs.”
The news on the new legal challenge comes a day after a draft report leaked from the NSW Greyhounds Taskforce revealed thousands more greyhounds will be effected by the ban than initially expected.
The original estimate predicted 6,000 dogs will be in need of a new home when the ban comes into effect from July 1, 2017, with a State Government review finding the actual number is 19,000.
“The Special Commission of Inquiry reported evidence from Greyhound Racing NSW that there were 6,809 active racing dogs in NSW,” the report says.
“In total, GRNSW has reported to the taskforce that there are an estimated 10,263 named greyhounds (between 18 months and six years of age) in NSW.
“A further 8,922 greyhounds have been microchipped and ear branded but not yet named.”