Greyhound racing at Londonderry won’t go ahead tomorrow night as the fallout from NSW Premier Mike Baird’s decision to ban the sport in NSW begins to take hold.
Mr Baird and Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Troy Grant announced today that the NSW Government is acting to protect animal welfare as a priority, and is planning for an orderly industry shutdown as of July 1, 2017.
However, Greyhounds NSW announced this afternoon it would suspend racing for at least the next seven days with immediate effect.
Mr Baird and Mr Grant released the report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW, which 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.
“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.”
Greyhounds NSW (GRNSW) said it was devastated by the decision.
“Around our state there are many thousands of responsible participants who treat their greyhounds like family who are involved in the greyhound racing industry either through training, racing or supporting the sport,” it said in a statement.
“These people were as dismayed as others by the exposure of completely unacceptable and inhumane practices within greyhound racing. That is why they supported the significant reforms made by Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) over the last 12 months.
“In the past 16 months, GRNSW has transformed the organisation and regulation of the industry to significantly improve animal welfare and supervision of the industry.
“GRNSW had taken decisive action as it strived to recover community trust and believed that its reforms and strategic direction could have transformed the sport into a stronger sustainable one in which animal welfare and integrity were fundamental to a vibrant future. The industry wanted to do more and was committed in doing so.
“The NSW Government, after receiving the Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry, has come to a different conclusion, one that will rock industry participants and associated communities around our state, as well as the hardworking GRNSW team and its partners who have been working tirelessly to improve the industry.”
Greyhounds at Londonderry are held at the Richmond Race Club, with the future of the club now in serious doubt.
Mr Baird said the Government will announce a detailed industry shutdown plan during the second half of 2016 following consultation with stakeholders in industry and animal welfare organisations.
Late today, the ACT Government said it would follow the NSW Government’s lead and ban greyhound racing.