MAKE no mistake, greyhound racing in Australia is teetering on the brink of destruction.
The calls for an end to greyhound racing are coming from far and wide in the aftermath of the Four Corners expose originating from Animal Liberation Queensland’s efforts.
Over the past eight years of Australian Racing Greyhound, we have observed, heard and frequently been on the end of abuse and “requests” to stop the sport.
In the past two years those voices have grown louder and the support base has spread from the fanatical animal welfare “professionals” to those further from the fringes.
In the past 12 hours, those voices have been joined by many sensible, reasonable-thinking Australians who have quickly taken to social media to express their outrage – and justifiably so.
What was shown on Monday night in the living rooms of Australia is indefensible.
There are no words which can placate those assaulted by the images or mitigate the reactions to the vision.
Greyhound racing has reached a crossroad – it can continue on in a whole new form with new leadership and a new set of values; or it can go the way so many have before it.
To survive, greyhound racing will require strong, transparent leadership with a strong focus on integrity and welfare – we do not have that currently. It could be argued all racing codes suffer this dilemma, and recent fiascos in AFL and NRL demonstrate integrity is not an issue reserved for the racing codes, but greyhound racing has suffered from a terminal lack of “backbone” from its leaders who are all too happy to hide behind “incidents” and “ongoing investigations” than to put forward the brutal truth.
In the lead-up to the most destructive media event of the year, our leaders seemed to be more concerned with controlling the message than providing that transparency. It was difficult to extract comment from GRV, and the fact we are the only independent media organisation devoted to the coverage of Australian greyhound racing online should not be lost in the noise. This is the same group of people who invited the ABC journalists in on the pretence they were doing a positive story on increasing popularity and TAB turnover in the sport. The words naïve and inept come to mind.
Due in no small part to the short-sighted dealings of the Greyhound Action Group in New South Wales, who got into bed with the Greens and animal welfare groups to get its facile NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the sport off the ground last year, the bright light of the animal welfare and anti-racing groups was already shining on greyhound racing. After Monday night, that spotlight has turned supernova and includes many who the sport may have considered allies. The heartland of greyhound support, the blue- and white-collar families of suburbia, have turned on the sport in numbers; and the horse racing crowd and their high-profile names have lent their support to calls to ban the sport.
Clearly greyhound racing is on the wrong path; the vast and overwhelming venom and disgust for the sport are palpable.
Swift, dramatic and conclusive changes must take place, and they must take place immediately.
Those who led us here, whether through ignorance or apathy, must be removed for there to be any hope that confidence in the sport will return.
Australian Racing Greyhound is calling for the chairs of the three boards concerned – Greyhound Racing Victoria, Greyhound Racing New South Wales and Racing Queensland – to stand down or be removed at once.
Australian Racing Greyhound is calling for the chief executive officers of the three racing authorities concerned – Greyhound Racing Victoria, Greyhound Racing New South Wales and Racing Queensland – to stand down or be removed.
Australian Racing Greyhound is calling for the chief stewards of the three authorities concerned – Greyhound Racing Victoria, Greyhound Racing New South Wales and Racing Queensland – to stand down or be removed.
Australian Racing Greyhound is calling for life bans for those identified in the vision as perpetuating these acts of extreme animal abuse.
Australian Racing Greyhound is calling for an end to the revolving door of suspensions and disqualifications being subverted by authorising the transfer of greyhounds from the offending trainer to their spouse.
Only clear and decisive actions such as these will even partially restore faith that our authorities can properly administer the sport.
Australian Racing Greyhound fears it is too late.