Thu, Jul 7, 12:50pm by Staff Writer
The New South Wales State Government has made the stunning announcement that it will ban greyhound racing from the middle of 2017.
Premier Mike Baird announced via Facebook on Thursday that ‘In response to widespread illegal and unconscionable activity’ NSW would put an end to the industry, which it says currently employs around 1000 people.
The government had established a Special Commission of Inquiry into the greyhound industry reports emerged of cruelty to animals and other illegal activities, including live baiting, which was exposed by a report on ABC program Four Corners.
The report of the Commission, conducted by former High Court Judge Michael McHugh, was damning, including:
– The mass killing of greyhounds. The report found, “In NSW in the last 12 years… somewhere between 48,891 and 68,448 dogs were killed because they were considered too slow to pay their way or were unsuitable for racing.”
– The widespread practice of “live baiting”. This is where live animals, like rabbits, are used as bait to be chased by dogs in training sessions.
– The systemic deception of the public concerning the numbers of deaths and injuries of dogs. The commission found that “Greyhound Racing NSW had adopted a policy of deliberately misreporting the extent of injuries suffered by greyhounds at racetracks.”
– The industry is not capable, in the short or medium term, of reforming.
“Dog racing can be an important part of the social fabric of regional towns. And, of course, having a punt on the dogs over a few beers is good fun for many people,” Baird said.
“So, as Mr McHugh asked, do such benefits of the dog racing industry outweigh the shortcomings?
“Based on this report, the Government believes they do not.”
“I feel much empathy for innocent trainers and those who will lose their job or hobby as a result of this. And I understand the disappointment of people who enjoy having a punt on the dogs. But we simply cannot and will not stand-by and allow the widespread and systemic mistreatment of animals.”
Greyhound racing is legal in only eight countries around the world. NSW will be the first state in Australia to ban it.
The NSW ban will have a significant effect on the gambling industry across Australia, with greyhound racing a major product for betting companies.
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