The mobile phones of greyhound rescuers across Australia ran hot this afternoon, as they shared the news around: greyhound racing in NSW is being banned.
NSW Premier Mike Baird announced the ban today, and in a 600-word Facebook post, outlined the reasons including the “mass-killing of greyhounds” numbering “somewhere between 48,891 and 68,448 dogs” in the last 12 years.
He also cited “the widespread practice of live baiting”, and the “systemic deception of the public concerning the numbers of deaths and injuries of dogs”.
The ban will come into force after June 30, 2017, and is the result of a long Special Commission into the industry headed by the former high court judge Michael McHugh. It was sparked by the ABC TV expose Making A Killing on the Four Corners show.
Greyhound industry stakeholders now have the next 11 months to rehome their dogs and shut up shop.
The ‘Right Thing To Do’ For Greyhounds, Says Premier
Mr Baird said the inquiry had exposed an industry that has “overseen the slaughter of tens of thousands of healthy dogs, whose only crime was they weren’t fast enough”.
“Even if we were to keep [the greyhound industry] open, it would not be economically viable in the long term and would still lead to the slaughter of thousands of healthy dogs—and live baiting would be likely to continue,” Mr Baird said.
“The only humane response is to close that industry down… with order, respect, and ensuring we minimise the consequences.”
He said it wasn’t an easy or light decision but he felt morally obliged.
“When confronted with Justice McHugh’s report I believe there is no other alternative. I believe it is the right thing to do.”
A Happy Day For Greyhound Rescuers
Although it’s sad news for NSW’s 1000 industry employees, as well as racegoers and punters who have enjoyed the tradition for decades, it’s great news for greyhound rescuers. They’re the ones who see the suffering of injured, traumatised greyhounds up close, working to rehabilitate and rehome them with loving families.
Lorraine Ramsay from Rescued Greyhounds NSW Central Coast – who was named Hope 103.2 Volunteer of the Year in May for her greyhound work – said she was “overwhelmed with joy at” the news.
“I didn’t know it was coming today, I didn’t expect it to be this soon,” she said. “I think it reaffirms how strong the evidence was that this industry had to be shut down. The evidence was overwhelming.”
“I got a call from a fellow greyhound enthusiast giving me the news, and then when I checked my phone there were heaps of text and missed telephone calls.”
While Lorraine’s glad the suffering of greyhounds in NSW will come to an end, and celebrated what she called “a great day for the little people” who have long campaigned for change, she says there’s “a lot of work to be done yet”.
“Australia is one of only eight countries left in the world that do allow greyhound racing, and Australia needs to be one of the countries where it’s banned—not just the state of NSW.”
A Good Time to Adopt a Greyhound
Greyhound lovers and animal rescue groups are anticipating an influx of dogs as the industry shuts down.
“I imagine a lot of dogs will go to other states in Australia where racing continues,” Lorraine said. “I’m rather horrified to think of how many will not be placed in other racing states or in homes. Already word is going through the network around Australia that there will be a lot more dogs to prepare for.”
Lorraine said greyhounds are quiet and gentle by nature, contrary to popular belief, and make great family pets. They can be sourced through greyhound rescue groups online and on Facebook.