Why Greyhound Racing is Banned in NSW
Reasons that led to banning of Greyhound in New South Wales
New South Wales government set up a commission of inquiry into the Greyhound Racing industry after disturbing reports of animal cruelty emerged courtesy of ABC TV’s Four Corners Program. It showed that there were incidences of live baiting of animals such as rabbits, which according to reports was a practice meant to entice the greyhounds to become aggressive racers. Live baiting, also known as blooding in NSW is considered a criminal offense.
In its findings, the commission of inquiry found out that there was compelling evidence of mass killing of dogs as well as live baiting. It was also established that approximately 50 percent of the bred greyhounds was killed deliberately for being non-competitive racers. The commission also found evidence that close to 20 percent of the racing dogs was injured, an estimate that was vehemently disputed by the Greyhounds NSW.
The Greyhounds NSW board was at fault for not doing anything about the widespread malpractice, amid reports it was well aware of live baiting incidences in its backyard at least since 2009. In its defense, the NSW board claimed that the evidence brought forward was overblown and based on a few irresponsible culprits. It claimed that banning greyhound racing in New South Wales was uncalled for, as it would translate to loss of livelihood to many dog owners and trainers who had practiced responsible racing. Failure by the board to provide a way forward regarding restricting and safeguarding the industry was one of the major reasons why greyhound racing is banned in NSW.
How evidence was collected
The Four Corners Program may have brought to light the existence of animal cruelty in the greyhound racing NSW industry, but the commission tasked with investigating the reports relied on witness evidence. Most of the witnesses grilled said that they had practiced live baiting, and had witnessed others do it as well. Preliminary reports suggested that the practice was rampant in the industry, and the commission wanted to establish whether it was possible for these issues to be dealt with in order to allow racing to continue.
The final nail
The Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill was passed by parliament via a comfortable vote margin, though the opposition did warn against the consequences. This was a major blow to the industry at large, with some of those interviewed claiming that the crimes of ‘a few people’ should not be used as a basis for taking such a huge step. It was estimated that the greyhound racing NSW industry employed more than 2,700 persons directly, and an even larger number of those who were involved in breeding.