Abigail has again used a Private Members’ Statement to call out the ongoing cruelty in the greyhound racing industry, this time focused on the use of government funds to prop up the industry.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (15:17): In July last year RSPCA inspectors attended a property in Marsden Park after receiving a report of mistreated greyhound dogs.TheSydney Morning Herald has reported that 12 dogs were surrendered. Many had dental problems, pressure sores, malnourishment and six dogs had anaemia due to fleas. Thankfully, 11 of the dogs have since found new homes. I pay tribute to the people who adopted these dogs. The community is consistently welcoming of dogs that have been used and abused by the greyhound racing gambling industry. However, that is where the good news ends. On 13 June the owner of the property, Charles Sultana, was fined a paltry $2,800. The RSPCA found several greyhound carcasses at the property. However, charges were not brought because there was insufficient evidence that the dogs had been killed within the last 12 months, which is a requirement of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.
While we have weak regulation and enforcement, while we have a spineless Government that refuses to end the cruel and corrupt greyhound betting industry, the least we can do is make it as easy as possible for people to adopt the dogs. One obvious way to do that is to treat greyhounds just like any other breed of dog. Anyone who has met a greyhound knows they are generally very placid and friendly dogs. There is no evidence to suggest any different. Yet laws and regulations treat them differently, as if they are somehow more dangerous than the average breed of dog, which discourages people from giving them a new home. In 2017 the Australian Capital Territory took a small step in the right direction. It repealed a law that required greyhounds to be muzzled in public—muzzled not because they were dangerous, but simply because they were greyhounds. The RSPCA welcomed the news by saying:
Now, these gentle giants can walk in public just like every other dog in Canberra, and that is without a muzzle by default. On behalf of the greyhounds, thank you!
New South Wales should follow suit as soon as possible and not require muzzling of greyhounds in any place where other dogs are permitted to be free of a muzzle. It is the least we can do until we finally remove big money from greyhound racing and end that cruel and exploitative industry.
Instead of taking action to improve the lives of greyhounds, in the 2019-20 budget this Liberal-Nationals Government has decided to give $10 million to Greyhound Racing NSW and its clubs. The purpose of that money is ostensibly to improve animal welfare, including track upgrades to reduce injury rates for racing dogs. In other words the Government is giving more money to an industry that does not want to dig into its profits to pay for measures that will reduce the harm of its business to the animals it exploits to make that money. This is public funds being used to paper over the abuse and mistreatment of greyhounds. Instead of reducing rates of injury, how about we eliminate injuries altogether by ending this cruel industry? How about we use that $10 million to assist workers in the industry to transition to other jobs, or to fund greyhound sanctuaries? Instead of propping up the cruel greyhound racing industry, this Government should get on with assisting workers to transition out of the industry, and ensure that every dog retires to a safe and loving home.