Greyhound racing ban backflip for bullies, opportunists

While details are still emerging about the reversal of the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Act 2016, from what we do know so far, this is a devastating blow to progressive politics in Australia and one that will do irreparable political damage to the Premier. 

The fact is, the majority of people supported this ban – two out of three according to RSPCA Australia polling statistics – so despite the cheers of victory from those with vested interests, most Australians will be very disappointed with this outcome. 

We now know that live baiting, doping, and the mass-slaughter of underperforming greyhounds are so deeply entrenched in the greyhound racing industry that no amount of legislative or policy change can regulate them away.

Just yesterday there were new reports of mass graves of slaughtered greyhounds, evidence of corruption and live baiting by officials, the arrest of a Cabramatta trainer for live baiting and the torture of animals – this industry is not going to change. And why would it? The industry has been exposed for its cruelty, and it has gotten away with it scot-free.

The Special Commission Report which prompted the ban found that up to 20% of trainers in NSW engaged in live baiting. The Report also found that almost 500 greyhounds sustained major or fatal injuries during races each year, and that up to 68,000 healthy animals have been treated as ‘wastage’ in NSW alone.

Despite having years to clean up its act, to eliminate the ingrained cruelty and redeem itself, evidence of abuse is still being reported in 2016. 

To put it plainly, this industry cannot change its ways. Another industry commitment, more meaningless regulations, will not result in reform. The culture of cruelty is just too systemic, and the "wastage" unavoidable.

This was an opportunity for Australia to join the vast majority of nations who have banned this sport because of cruelty. Instead, we are left in the dark ages, one of just eight nations who continue greyhound racing.  

For those who are celebrating today, you are not celebrating a political victory, you are celebrating animal suffering for the sake of gambling. 

If there is any silver lining to this mess; it is the knowledge that the Australian public has seen into the ugly business of greyhound racing. 

Elise Burgess
Head of Communications and Voiceless spokesperson