FOLLOWING on from February’s controversial Four Corners program titled ‘Making A Killing’, I have literally read hundreds of stories relating to live baiting with a strong call for greyhound racing to be banned altogether.
I now see people who dedicate their whole lives to the sport, fearful of what the future holds for themselves and their greyhounds. Along with the full-time and part-time trainers, rearers, breeders and break-in establishments, over 1,500 people in NSW alone are employees of Greyhound Racing NSW.
Track curators, commentators, stewards, administration staff, lure drivers, club managers, race day staff, videographers, veterinarians, judges and volunteers will all be forced to obtain new employment.
Given the current economic climate and a 6.1% unemployment rate in Australia, it’s a bleak outlook for anyone looking to find employment in the near future.
With so many articles and opinions published from those who oppose greyhound racing, we’ve heard from the experts and those who manage the sport at the highest level. However, too many people have failed to ask the true people that matter in this whole fiasco; the rearers, breeders, trainers and owners and employees, about how they feel about their world suddenly being turned upside down.
After the Four Corners documentary on live baiting, the first question I now get asked by anyone from inside and outside of the industry now is do you live bait?
I used to get asked if I had won any races lately or if I had any good dogs coming through. Despite my efforts to illustrate all the positive aspects of greyhound racing, people’s opinions of the sport are seemingly now set in stone.
On the weekend I decided to conduct a public survey for anyone involved inside or outside of the industry, with 9 multiple choice questions and one comment question.
I was overwhelmed by the response, receiving 146 replies to date, with the results as follows:
– 64% of the respondents believe live baiting has decreased after the broadcasting of the Four Corners program
– 49% of people have been subjected to abuse from anti-greyhound racing protestors since the program was aired
– 75% have rehomed at least one greyhound
– 73% believe penalties for drug offences and conduct aren’t harsh enough
– 89% will continue to be involved with greyhound racing, with 9% unsure of their future in the sport.
At the bottom of the survey I placed a blank comment box for anyone to contribute their thoughts and concerns, the response was simply overwhelming.
People poured their heart out to defend the sport they love and offer ideas and suggestions, which hopefully will get read by our executive decision-makers.
Some of the responses were:
– Should police more if you are suspended or disqualified.
– Blood testing required.
– Minority groups are allowed far too much freedom of speech with few or no facts. Sensationalised bull**t is taken as gospel by the weak minded fools, but the bulls**t grows. Ask Animals Australia how many animals they have taken away from a bad situation and then re-homed. However, united by bulls**t…. They grow. While unfortunately, the greyhound participants, divided by competition…. We slowly die.
– Better knowledge and a training course before obtaining licence,harsher penalties for drug cheats and some mediators to anti groups. I am activist but a realist, greys love to run, but need to remove cheats.
– Believe undetectable drugs are a problem.
– Breeding schemes will be cut [and] will compromise the quality of greyhound being bred. People In SA were subsidised since their prize money was less, the industry has improved immensely, but will now go backwards.
– Penalties MUST be consistent across Australia. Especially for drug use.
– What our industry needs is [to] work as one. [Also we] need to monitor all trainers with a kennel inspection every 3 months.
– The greyhounds should be run separately from the gallopers and the trotters
– Most of mine I keep as pets myself…dont know if people like me are counted with the so called “thousands” PTS.
– Sick of being abused every time I take my dog for a walk.
– Lack of education of participants, and lack of material available to educate/ensure participants obide by rules.
– A lot of work goes behind the scenes with trainers doing their own rehoming also antis are actually doctoring the stats on rehoming as admit to not checking ID on dogs microchips ownership etc and not filling out retirement forms.
– Definitely Blood Testing not just urine tests.
– The sport needs to be professional. The notion of hobby trainers in this era of a multibillion dollar sport is laughable.
– I love watching the greys race. It is a common thought that all animal breeding/racing/showing has an ugly side. If I thought it wasn’t so then I would have been born in fairyland. I bought my greyhound the week before the [Four Corners] programme so yes I did get some concerns but no one has disowned me and only offered words of encouragement. We have had our girl for about 10 weeks and she is now a green hound and if I had room I would get another but only one will fit on the bed with my husband.
– I would like for the Greyhound Industry to remain. That this time to be used to revamp and review all aspects of the racing community, to be more dedicated in improving and strengthening the sport. It is not a cruel sport, but certainly some methods are clearly out dated and need to be subjected to further enquiry.
– Overbreeding. I believe you shouldn’t be able to breed with poorly bred bitches or with bitches who have had a litter which has not produced any winners. Euthanasia rates are just too high, but I don’t know how to combat that. Harsher penalties for people convicted of abuse or welfare issues.
– My big concern is I try always to get new people into the sport and was going to syndicate a few then the whole scandal hits this year and now I am not sure it will happen. I get abused in my T.A.B it has been bad from people I would have never knew would’ve given me grief over being an owner. All I can do is keep going hoping it will turn around.
– The industry needs to be harder on those trainers who are doing the wrong thing. The industry needs to come out and promote itself and also put up the facts against the detractors.
– Tougher actions must be put in place to eject the perpetrators from the whole industry.
The one common trait all of the respondents had was passion and a love for the industry that brings them so much joy. More importantly, they all desire to improve and make greyhound racing more sustainable for the future.
With the opportunities being presented as a result of the live baiting scandal, it is time we all stand united to save our beloved greyhounds.