LOCAL greyhound owners expressed outrage and disappointment last week as the bill to ban greyhound racing in NSW moved swiftly through State Parliament’s Upper House.
Bulahdelah greyhound owner and trainer Mick Worth said the ban on the “traditional iconic Australian pastime, hobby and social activity” was “un-Australian” and will affect many people’s lives.
“There will be over ten thousand jobs lost statewide and many of these will be in smaller communities such as our own,” he said.
“A number of owners and trainers in our area are still in shock and disbelief that their love, life, hobby and in some cases livelihoods surrounding these wonderful animals will be taken forever.”
Mr Worth said most races bring prize money of around $350.
“It’s not hard to see that it’s not about the money, but for the love of this beautiful canine and the lifetime involvement of friends and family that comes with it,” he said.
“In many rural areas greyhound racing is nothing more than a social outlet for people, with friends and family coming together and occasionally winning a race.”
Mr Worth said there are over thirty participants within a fifty kilometre radius of Bulahdelah including a trainer who had recently moved to the area.
“He has spent thousands turning his property into his dream to now realise he may have to tear it all down,” Mr Worth said.
Premier Mike Baird announced the decision to ban greyhound racing in NSW last month after a report from a Special Commission of Inquiry showed systemic animal cruelty including mass greyhound killings.
Mr Worth said Baird’s decision was based on a report that was full of incorrect information.
“The report states that 68,000 dogs were slaughtered over a twelve year period, however a separate report done by Greyhound Racing NSW shows that approximately 6500 were humanely euthanised or re-homed in that period. That’s quite a difference,” he said.
“Statistics from the RSPCA show 11,000 domestic dogs are euthanised in NSW every year, but people aren’t stopped from owning dogs as pets even though not everyone is fit to be a pet owner.”
Mr Worth said there are irresponsible individuals in any area, “but it’s the majority of people who are doing the right thing that are being penalised for the actions of a few.”
Once the ban is in place, Mr Worth said many local businesses will be affected.
“Greyhounds need the best of everything, including food, vitamins, transport, kennels, veterinarian care and many other accessories,” he said.
“Bulahdelah is an ideal stopover place for participants traveling to race venues, they let their dogs out, fill up with fuel and grab a coffee or something to eat, but this will end once the ban is endorsed.”
Liberal MP Duncan Gay said he appreciates this decision has caused stress and angst for many people.
“The passage of this bill will see a definite end date to greyhound racing in NSW,” Mr Gay said in Parliament.
Under the ban, the entire $350 million industry will be shut down by 1 July next year.