The New South Wales (NSW) Government has reversed its decision to ban greyhound racing, giving the sport “one last chance” to prove itself against animal cruelty.
The Australian greyhound racing industry has been beleaguered by a number of investigations which found conclusive evidence of animal cruelty including mass killings and the use of live bait in training.
A report released June 2016 revealed thousands of animals that were too slow or could not compete had been euthanized by owners. Dogs were bred at puppy farms, raised in poor conditions and those that survived were ill-treated.
In July, NSW Premier Mike Baird declared his state would move to ban the sport following shocking evidence of animal cruelty. However, this week the NSW premier backtracked on the declaration after suggesting that it would be incautious of the consequences to have such a ban on greyhound racing.
NSW advisors pointed out there would be a significant number of dogs abandoned should the ban be implemented.
Baird proposed the greyhound industry reforms under a new regime, a greyhound industry reform panel, which would be chaired by Deputy Premier Troy Grant and Morris Lemma, the former NSW Premier.
The reform panel will seek to implement life bans for life baiting as well as increased jail terms, an independent regulator with powers to ensure transparency and accountability, increased resources for animal welfare, and consistent enforcement and prosecution.
NSW Premier Mike Baird commented: “We firmly believed the government’s decisive response to the animal cruelty outlined in Justice McHugh’s report was the right one – but we misjudged the community’s response to that report,”
“The industry can’t return to the status quo – the barbaric practices of live baiting, cruel wastage and high rates of injury must end.”
CEO of RSPCA NSW, Steve Common told ABC: “For decades it’s been said over and over the industry deserves one more chance. How many chances does it require for industry to simply follow the law?”