NSW Premier Mike Baird has announced that Greyhound racing in NSW will come to an end on July 1, 2017.
“In response to widespread illegal and unconscionable activity, including the slaughtering of tens of thousands of dogs, I can today announce that NSW is putting an end to greyhound racing,” Mr Baird said.
A report from the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Industry led by a former High Court judge, Michael McHugh QC, found staggering numbers of unprofitable greyhounds were being killed and that illegal live-baiting continued.
Quoting extensively from the recently delivered report, Mr Baird said “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. In the industry, they call this ‘wastage’ – the unnecessary slaughtering of tens of thousands of healthy dogs.”
The report also addressed live baiting “where live animals, like rabbits, are used as bait to be chased by dogs in training sessions”.
“The report found that, even though this is already illegal and carries heavy penalties, ‘a trainer, who admitted to engaging in live baiting, testified that about 10-20 per cent of trainers engaged in live baiting’.”
“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.”
Dimity Maher, a greyhound journalist and trainer told The Newsroom the announcement appalled her, and appealed to other trainers to not give up.
“Im absolutely shattered. Greyhound racing is my life [and] I’m devastated for my friends who work in the industry but it’s not over. We need to band together and unite.” – Jesse Mullens
Photo of dogs racing at Albion Park from The Dogs Twitter feed.