http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-07/greyhound-racing-to-be-banned-in-new-south-wales/7576816Greyhound racing to be banned in New South Wales, Baird Government announces
Updated 7 minutes ago
Greyhound racing will be banned in New South Wales from July 1 next year, with Premier Mike Baird saying the "widespread and systemic mistreatment of animals" cannot be tolerated.
Mr Baird said the Government had received the report of the commission, conducted by former High Court judge Michael McHugh, and the findings were damning.
The move comes after the ABC's Four Corners program exposed widespread and extreme animal cruelty and cheating through the use of live baiting to entice and train greyhounds, which then led to the special commission.
Internal documents revealed senior greyhound racing administrators in NSW were actively strategising to downplay live baiting in the industry in the days before the program was set to air.
Mr Baird said the industry was not capable in the short or medium term of reforming and in the coming months the Government would be working toward an orderly shutdown.
In his recommendation to Parliament, Mr McHugh said it should be considered whether the industry had lost its "social licence" to operate and should be shut down.
He said his alternative recommendation was extensive reform, including tighter regulation. But he said if the industry continued, there was a "very real risk" that live baiting would continue.'Horrific' evidence of animal cruelty heard by special commission
Mr Baird said the decision showed the State Government was making animal welfare a priority.
"As a humane and responsible Government, we are left with no acceptable course of action except to close this industry down," Mr Baird said.
"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."
Mr Baird described the evidence of animal cruelty heard by the commission as "chilling and horrific".
The inquiry found that between 48,000 and 68,000 greyhounds - or at least half of all greyhounds bred to race - were killed in the past 12 years because they were deemed uncompetitive.
The report said up to 20 per cent of trainers engaged in live baiting and 180 greyhounds per year sustained "catastrophic injuries" during races, including skull fractures, which resulted in their deaths.
Mr Baird said the Government would announce detailed plans for the shutdown later this year following consultation with the industry and animal welfare organisations.
He said the move would include a welfare plan for existing greyhounds, including opportunities for re-homing, an adjustment package for industry participants, a transition arrangement for existing Greyhound Racing NSW assets, including race tracks to ensure they are used as open public space.
Mr Baird said the state would be following many jurisdictions across the United States and the world which have banned greyhound racing to protect animal welfare.'Industry will fight this to the finish'
Hunter Valley greyhound racing trainer Bob Whitelaw said he was devastated by the news.
"I can assure you that the industry will fight this to the finish. I have got no doubt," he said
"It'll be a political issue at the next election. The ramifications could go right through to the other two codes of racing here in NSW ... if look at the other two codes there is not much difference when it comes to the allegations of animal cruelty."
He said he believed the move was an over-reaction.