NSW just became the first Australian state to ban greyhound racing. Off the back of a parliamentary inquiry, Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Troy Grant have announced the ban will commence from July 1 next year.
The special inquiry, led by commissioner Michael McHugh, found evidence of systemic animal cruelty within the greyhound racing industry. This included mass greyhound killings and live baiting during secret training sessions.
"As a humane and responsible Government, we are left with no acceptable course of action except to close this industry down," Baird said in a statement this morning.
"This is the inevitable conclusion to be drawn from the appalling revelations in Mr McHugh's report and his considered view that any other measures are unlikely to protect animals from further cruelty."
Last year, an ABC Four Corners segment shared evidence of live baiting during secret training sessions involving piglets, possums, and rabbits. The special inquiry confirmed what the Four Corners report had revealed, exposing horrific incidences of cruelty which Greyhound Racing NSW had done little to combat.
According to the report, of the 97,783 greyhounds bred in the last 12 years—which amounted to between 48,891 and 68,448 dogs—were killed because they were deemed uncompetitive as racing animals.
The report also found that live baiting extended back to 2009, with around 10 to 20 percent of greyhound trainers engaged in the practice. According to the report, Greyhound Racing NSW knew about the prevalence of live baiting within the industry and yet did nothing about it.
Greens NSW MP and Spokesperson for Animal Welfare, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, welcomed the NSW Government's announcement.
"The report states what many of us already knew; there was no way greyhound racing can operate without the extreme animal cruelty that the Special Commission report has shown," she said in a media statement today.
"Our focus must now be on the welfare of the animals in the industry to ensure they are re-homed and given appropriate support."
Baird said the NSW Government would announce more comprehensive plans for the racing ban later this year, following consultation with the industry as well as animal welfare organisations. This will include a re-homing plan for race dogs and compensation for industry participants.
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