This is the recommendation which is causing the demise of the NSW industry
Given the findings of the Commission concerning the management and governance of the greyhound
racing industry, the Parliament of New South Wales should consider whether the industry has lost its
social licence and should no longer be permitted to operate in NSW.
Whilst the animal welfare groups worked as whistle blowers to expose the flaws for their own beliefs and purposes, they are not to be blamed for the outcome. I believe that rests with the expose of the industries failings, considered by the Commissioner to be so grave that greyhound racing in NSW was judged as being unable to self correct the ingrained culture going forward. That is what this is all about. A loss of what the Commissioner call the social licence.
I note the depth of problems in this statement:
The Commission accepts that not every greyhound trainer or owner was involved in live baiting,
and that many trainers are dedicated people with a proper respect for animal welfare generally.
They are persons who do not and would not countenance live baiting. The Commission is of the
view, however, that a very sizeable proportion of industry participants had, from time to time,
engaged in live baiting as a method of training greyhounds. The Commission finds that the
practice was, in effect, rampant and chronic. In the main, persons engaged in live baiting
because that is what other people in the industry had done or were doing and that it was a longstanding
method of training a dog to be a better chaser. Further, the practice of live baiting was
not limited to particular geographical areas.
This list of failings discovered by the Commission is surely breathtaking.
The Commission is of the view that the industry has lost the integrity-based trust of the community and other stakeholders. It could hardly be otherwise.
That is because the greyhound racing industry has been exposed as an industry that:
· has implicitly condoned as well as caused, the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of healthy greyhounds;
· has failed to demonstrate that in the future it will be able to reduce the deaths of healthy greyhounds to levels the community could tolerate;
· has engaged in the barbaric practice of live baiting;
· has caused and will continue to cause injuries to greyhounds that range from minor to catastrophic;
· has treated greyhounds as dispensable commercial commodities;
· has deceived the community concerning the extent of injuries and deaths caused during race meetings;
· has preferred the commercial interests of the industry to the animal welfare interests of greyhounds;
· has exported greyhounds to race in places such as Macau where animal welfare standards are very poor; and
· has ignored or failed to recognise that the industry has obligations to the community that go beyond its strictly legal obligations.
It would be surprising if these failings of the industry had not destroyed the community’s trust in the industry. Moreover, these failings have occurred in a context where greyhounds in NSW are now primarily, almost exclusively, bred for commercial purposes - to race for prize money and to create gambling opportunities. The reality is that, for many, perhaps most, of those who participate in the industry - whether as punters, breeders, owners or trainers, greyhounds are
commercial commodities, not animals to be cherished and loved.
The Commission accepts that many participants in the industry are animal lovers who care for their greyhounds. But especially for those whose interest in greyhounds is betting on their chance of winning races, the greyhound is simply a gambling instrument, no different from a card in a poker game or a handle on a poker machine.
The extent of wastage and live baiting suggests that the view of the greyhound as a commercial commodity is also widespread among breeders, owners and trainers. Greyhounds Australasia, the peak body of the industry, has said that in the industry profits have come before welfare.
This is why the Code has lost the battle with the general community! Sad but true. And probably preventable if the current participants had got their act together in the last decade or so.
At least the horse codes have to opportunity to prevent falling into the same trap. Social licence. Always remember that entity.