Greyhound Racing Industry

Abigail used her first Private Members Statement to call for the toxic greyhound racing industry to be shut down, speaking loudly and clearly over interruptions from members of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (15:00): Often in this Parliament we are told that we cannot make progress on an issue because of the impact that that progress will have on existing jobs in a particular industry. It seems to be assumed that once jobs are created in an industry, we cannot ever then seek to curb it or shut it down regardless of how unproductive it has become or how much harm it is causing to people, the environment or the economy. Good economic management requires governments to look further into the future than the next election. It requires governments to listen to the advice of experts, to hear the calls for transition, and to act early to ensure that people can move from one industry to another.

That is at the heart of a productive economy: a nimble workforce supported by its Government. It is no excuse to fail to close down an unproductive industry simply because the Government has failed to do the legwork required to ensure that workers are retrained and new industries stimulated in affected areas, so that there are new jobs to go into. Frequently, this self-serving argument is raised in the context of environmentally destructive industries, such as the fossil fuels industry. But we also hear it in the context of socially destructive and cruel industries, such as the greyhound racing industry.

In 2016, on the back of the hard work of the late John Kaye and Mehreen Faruqi, this Parliament passed laws to shut down the greyhound racing industry. Less than two months later, cowardice prevailed and those laws were reversed, with many of the excuses relying on the fact that the Government had failed to provide a just transition for the workforce. The result of that decision is the continuation of an odious, inhumane industry that kills thousands of innocent dogs and puppies every year in the most cruel and depraved ways. It has not stopped. The failure to plan for the transition of workers in the greyhound racing industry is no excuse for allowing that cruelty to continue.

I ask both the Government and the Opposition: If that decision was not made in order to protect their mates in the gambling industry, why not simply ban gambling on greyhounds? Gambling, profits and animals are a toxic combination. If the Government seriously thinks there is no problem with the breeding practices within the greyhound racing industry, then give government support to greyhound sanctuaries that will house the tens of thousands of puppies that would otherwise be murdered at the hands of breeders. We will see what happens when the Government finds itself responsible for that number of animals. Perhaps then it will realise just how absurd it is for breeders to breed so many dogs in order to find the select few who will run fast enough to win them the big bucks at the races.

The people of New South Wales have not forgotten the footage of live‑baiting first shown onFour Corners and they have not forgotten the horrific findings of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in New South Wales. Now is the time for the Government to acknowledge the need for the greyhound racing industry—an industry driven by gambling—to be shut down and to chart out a just transition for workers. The systemic cruelty in the industry and the need for it to be shut down has not gone away and it will not go away. No more excuses.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (The Hon. Trevor Khan): Order! I did not interrupt Ms Abigail Boyd to deal with the interjections because it would have used up her time. However, during the giving of private members' statements I will insist that members be heard with a degree of courtesy. I call the Hon. Robert Borsak to order for the first time.

Read the full transcript here.

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