Local greyhound owners are devastated by the NSW ban on greyhound racing from the end of June 2017.
NSW Premier Mike Baird described a Special Commission report into the sport as chilling, confronting and horrific, and said it shone a light on an industry that has overseen the slaughter of tens of thousands of healthy dogs, whose only crime was not being fast enough.
“This is not an easy decision, it is certainly one that is not taken lightly, but when confronted with Justice McHugh’s report, it is the right thing to do. This is an industry across the world that has been shrinking.” he added.
Mr Baird said the last greyhound meetings will be held on June 30 next year, after what the Premier described as “an orderly industry shutdown”.
Local greyhound owners are devastated by the news.
Steven Baker from the Hatch at Blackmans Point asked what would happen to the thousands of greyhounds in New South Wales.
“I have got a litter of ten pups that I’ve just reared. I’ve spent $20,000 on them already, and it will cost $1,000 to register them. I also have a retired dog.”
Mr Baker acknowledged that there had been cruelty in the greyhound game over the years, but said the government were tarring everyone with the same brush.
“I adore my greyhounds. I’m happy for anybody to come and look at them, any time. The RSPCA are supposed to do kennel checks. In ten years, only one person has come to my place.”
For Steven, racing greyhounds is a hobby, but he fears that a lot of people won’t be able to afford to feed their dogs.
He is a regular at the Hastings River (Wauchope) Greyhound Racing Club which has 15 meetings a year, and he says it’s a lovely track.
“Why close down greyhound racing and not horse racing?” he asked.
Wauchope man Pete Coulon used to judge greyhound races and says the majority of people do it as a hobby. “Some of our fellas around here just live for it. When people have been cruel, they’ve been caught and punished,” he added.
The report found that between 48,000 and 68,000 – or almost half of all greyhounds bred to race – were killed in the past 12 years because they were deemed uncompetitive.
Mr Baird acknowledged that dog racing can be an important part of the social fabric of regional towns, and that having a punt on the dogs, over a few beers, is good fun for many people. But he said the report showed that the benefits of the dog racing industry did not outweigh the shortcomings.
NSW will be the first state in Australia to ban it. The greyhound industry employs 1,000 people and contributes about $90 million a year to the NSW economy but Mr Baird said sometimes numbers really mean nothing.