Some interesting words from Ray Hadleyhttp://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/ray-hadley-bairds-greyhound-racing-ban-a-careless-swipe/news-story/83cd874a3a53dc2f9bc31e016133805fRay Hadley: Baird’s greyhound racing ban a careless swipe
I declare an interest. Thirty-six years ago my broadcasting career started at Appin greyhound track out past Campbelltown, as a race caller. In time I progressed to Nowra, Bulli and eventually to Harold Park and Wentworth Park. So I have a deep affection for the greyhound industry and most of the people in it.
The decision taken by NSW Premier Mike Baird this week has rocked the industry to its very core.
Many are saying that after the revelations up to 70,000 fit and healthy greyhounds were put down over a 12-year period, something had to be done. But did it have to be this drastic?
It smacks of a decision made by people with no real understanding of the gambling sports, including racing and harness racing. Not every racehorse that can’t gallop ends up at the local pony club or being used for dressage. Harness racing horses that can’t trot or pace fast enough don’t end up pulling milk carts.
That doesn’t mean every effort should not be made to find homes for greyhounds that are not racing propositions but I wonder if the Premier knows how many domestic pets that are abandoned every year are put down by various animal welfare agencies that can’t find them homes.Last year, the RSPCA had to euthanase 12,500 dogs and cats for various reasons, which means that in the same 12-year period more than 100,000 dogs and cats were put down legally by the RSPCA.
Until this week, there were about 33 greyhound tracks across NSW; about half are non-TAB tracks that race every week. Places such as Kempsey, Mudgee, Wauchope, Broken Hill and Taree; not tracks where you’ll find big trainers, just men and women who love their dogs and have some fun for a small amount of prizemoney.
But all those clubs, including TAB tracks such as Dapto, Nowra, Casino, Grafton, Lismore, Maitland, Gosford, Dubbo, Richmond and Bathurst, along with non-TAB tracks, employ local people — behind the bar, at the starting boxes, in the race-day office, selling food or calling the dogs, just like I did at Appin in 1980, for $36.50 for 15 races.
What does Baird say to those communities?
We have a major drug problem in NSW with ice and the like. What is the Premier doing to stop a scourge that tears lives apart?
Is he legislating for tough mandatory penalties for the dealers? Of course not.
What’s he doing about child sex offenders who get a slap on the wrist from some judges for ruining little children’s lives?
No life bans there, like he’s given the greyhound industry. Baird waited until after the federal election to announce the ban, for a simple reason. He knew there’d be a backlash that would have some effect in rural communities.
It could have cost the Coalition votes, and in present circumstances they are much-needed votes.
I’ll give you a tip — this will affect many more people than Baird thinks.
He could have given the industry one more chance to get rid of the low-lifes who ruined it for everyone, but it was an easy target. Not many from the big end of town get to Richmond dogs on a Friday night.
Ray Hadley is a radio broadcaster for 2GB