Friday, 19 August 2016

There are two sides to the NSW greyhound racing ban - but only one is focused on stopping the widespread cruelty

The Greyhound Special Commission of Inquiry Factsheet, June 2016:

Of the 97,783 greyhounds bred in the last 12 years, between 48,891 and 68,448 dogs were killed because they were deemed uncompetitive as racing dogs – this equates to a “wastage” rate of 50 to 70 per cent.
Even by reducing the number of races to the minimum required for the industry to remain viable (593), at that wastage rate there would still be 2,000 to 4,000 dogs killed prior to reaching racing age each year.
Evidence of live baiting extends as far back as 2009 and with around 10 to 20 per cent of trainers engaged in the practice, the Commission concluded that there is endemic support for the practice and that GRNSW knew about the practice and did nothing about it.
Greyhound racing is only commercially run in eight countries. The largest of those is the United States where it has been in decline over a number of years with Arizona becoming the 40th state to ban the sport in June this year.
Deaths and injuries went unreported to GRNSW even following a Four Corners report in February 2015 exposing live baiting practices, and the establishment of the Special Commission of Inquiry in May 2016…..
the Commission finds that GRNSW engaged in the conduct knowingly and with the intention of sanitising the information that became available to the public concerning injuries suffered by greyhounds. The motive for the policy was the hope that, by doing so, substantial criticism of the greyhound racing industry in NSW could be avoided.”
“Given these views, and the highly entrenched nature of live baiting as a traditional training method, there is a very real risk that, once the harsh spotlight of this Commission is removed from the industry, the practice of live baiting will thrive once more. It is imperative that regulators take all available steps to try to ensure that this does not occur. That said, as history suggests, there is reason for pessimism on this front.”

The Northern Star lays out the economic reality of the ban on 16 August 2016:

report prepared by Richmond Valley Council staff for tonight's council meeting includes a case study of a local pet supply shop which is expected to close if the proposed the NSW government's ban on greyhound racing goes ahead in July 2017.
The report recommends that Richmond Valley Council notes that the closure of the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry will lead to a loss of $10.5 million direct investment, 49 jobs and $2.4 million in salaries and wages to the Richmond Valley economy…..
According to the council report, if the greyhound industry ban proceeds Richmond Valley Council will be left with a redundant race track, lose annual revenue and is likely to have to take over maintenance of the facility.
If the industry closes council will also be required to re-home or euthanise the significant number of greyhounds that the current greyhound owners will be left with and in many cases unable to afford to feed leaving them with no alternative other to surrender them to council's animal shelter.
The race track was upgraded from a grass track to an all-weather loam track to improve safety at the start of 2015 at a cost of $850,000 which was funded by the Casino Greyhound Club.
The club pay council $6,500 per annum for the use of the facility.

On the same day a Clarence Valley resident Celeste Warren laid out the case to end this cruel sport:

W.M. Dougherty's letter (DEX 11 Aug, 2016) stated he sighted the paper advertisement from the state government supporting its ban on greyhound racing and was concerned it was 'all about dogs - no mention of mention of of dollars...way of life...enjoyment....' and  'I got the idea that humans were more important than dogs'.  He was concerned the Baird government considered dogs more important than people.

I'd like to point out, in his letter, there was no mention of:  live baiting, destruction of hundreds of healthy non raceable dogs, each year, short life spans of racing dogs, a certain acceptance of cruelty in the sport as always having been done and not a major issue to be dealt with. 

Cruelty in the sport has been well known and a certain level of acceptance of it is held by those in greyhound racing and the general public.

Greyhound racing has had decades to eradicate cruel practice's and stop and prosecute those who partake in them.  They state they need 'more time'? to put a stop to the living 'wastage' - dogs - and the cruelty within the industry. When did they actually start to stop the 'acceptable' number of cruelty cases within the industry?  How much time do they need to effectively police themselves? 

The Baird government decided that enough time had passed for the greyhound industry to improve itself and seriously deal with its cruelty issues but it just wasn't as important as jobs, millions of dollars, way of life, enjoyment....  Not enough effort was given for the changes.  Not enough of those who love their dogs appeared to want to lobby for change to help other dogs and other animals used in grey hound racing, such as those who are live bait.

I know of some who worked in the industry in Queensland and I saw some of those dogs and saw the result of how they were 'taught' to race.

Will any government also expect other animal sports to 'pull their heads in' or lose them with a banning of their sports?  Probably not.  Why?  Because animal welfare is never, I repeat, never, as important as humans...their money, jobs, enjoyment and rights.  The greyhound industry in NSW is not as great a money spinner as other animal racing is.  Greyhound racing is an easier animal welfare issue for the state government to score points on.  It relieves some animal cruelty issues without too great a dent in the state coffers.  Still, those who care for animal welfare and rights as ''one eyed' as 'we' are, will take what little tidbit we can get in gaining a little more help for our furry friends.

So, Mr. Dougherty, rest easy as animals will never be as important as you and yours.  Enjoy the Queensland races.

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