The Australian State of New South Wales has declared an end to greyhound racing following an investigation that found out overwhelming evidence of systematic animal cruelty, including the use of life baits and the slaughtering of as many as 68,000 dogs considered too slow or uncompetitive.
Greyhound racing banned?
The New South Wales Government is set to be the first Australian state to ban greyhound racing. A special commission of inquiry was appointed into the New South Wales greyhound racing industry. This action was in response to a Four Corners program shown on ABC TV in 2015. This program exposed racing greyhounds being enticed to chase, maul and kill live animals. Piglets, rabbits and native possums were being tied, flung and then mauled to death. This training method was not only widespread, but also accepted. Sadly, the majority of dogs are killed because they are not fast enough to win money.
The commission gathered evidence from several witnesses who had used live baiting to train greyhounds themselves and had seen others do it. One trainer who had practised live baiting himself and helped others do it, said that he believes that 10 per cent to 20 per cent of trainers used live baiting. The commission concluded that his evidence is very likely to be correct based on his involvement and knowledge. The commission presented 80 recommendations to the New South Wales Parliament.
Evidence of animal cruelty
The commission presented 80 recommendations to the New South Wales Parliament. The majority of the recommendations focus on ways to prevent live baiting and improve industry governance to protect animal welfare. However, the first recommendation asked the Parliament to consider banning greyhound racing. New South Wales Premier, Mike Baird, said that shutting down the industry was a difficult but required decision. Mr Braid described the evidence of animal cruelty heard as chilling and horrific. All greyhound racing was expected to end July 2017 after a long- awaited inquiry found ”widespread and systematic mistreatment of animals.” Greyhound Racing New South Wales said it was shocked by the decision and since then they made several efforts to ameliorate animal welfare.
Animal rights groups reacted with shock and anger when the Australian state of New South Wales has reversed plans to ban greyhound racing. In his statement, Mike Baird said he had ”underestimated the desire to give the greyhound industry a second chance.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals argued that the decision was not only a terrible one for the greyhounds but also for democracy. People were very disappointed when Mike Braid signed off on the ban, they thought there was finally a politician that wanted to make things right. Their concerns were that illegal practices such as life baiting would carry on even if strict rules were imposed.
Formally regulated greyhound racing
According to the commission’s report, commercial greyhound racing is formally regulated in eight different countries including Mexico, Macau, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom and Australia.
I strongly believe that overturning the ban sends the wrong message. The government needed to be much tougher with people in the industry who have been found participating in live- baiting. By not making an effort to fix the problem the government was sending the message that the problem cannot be fixed.