Why are children being exposed to the brutality and cruelty of greyhound tracks?

Greyhound racing perpetuates severe animal abuse and poses psychological risks to onsite child workers. Today in Parliament, Abigail gave notice urging the NSW Government to raise the minimum age for racetrack workers to 18.

Abigail gave notice of the following motion:

I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move: 

(1) That this House notes that: 

  • in 2022, the Greyhound Welfare Integrity Commission (GWIC) lowered the participant age limit to 12 years of age, to allow children as young as 12 to participate in trials at registered greyhound tracks as the greyhound catcher; 
  • the racing industry is a notoriously corrupt and unsafe environment for children, exposing them to gambling, heavy alcohol consumption and animal cruelty; 
  • since the age limit was lowered, participating children have been working in the catching pens where many greyhound deaths and injuries occur, able to observe protruding bones, broken spines and other limbs and more; 
  • according to GWIC Chief Executive Officer, Steve Griffin, in a Budget Estimates hearing on 22 February 2024, no research was conducted in relation to the psychological impact of exposing children to this environment, nor was any legal advice sought by GWIC in relation to liability for future gambling or other psychological issues children may develop following their exposure to this environment; 
  • according to evidence-based studies including those published in the Australian Harm Reduction Journal, the Growing Up In Australia “Longitudinal Study of Australian Children” and the “2015 Australian Psychological Society survey into Stress and wellbeing”, children who are exposed to heavy gambling during adolescence are at greater risk of gambling-related harm when they grow up, as well as developing symptoms of psychological distress; and
  • psychological research has also confirmed a strong link between acts of deliberate animal cruelty like greyhound racing, and aggression, violence and general antisocial behaviour toward humans. 

(2) That this House calls on the NSW Government to:

  • urgently consult with experts and conduct thorough evidence-based research in relation to the psychological effects of racing environments on children’s wellbeing and mental health; and
  • raise the age of participation in greyhound racing to 18 years of age.

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